The Role of Triple Loop Learning in Fostering Future Conservation Leaders: Assessing High-Impact Practices


  • Eddie Hill Old Dominion University
  • Chris A. B. Zajchowski
  • Hans-Peter Plag
  • Tatyana Lobova



High-impact practice, conservation, leadership


Higher education institutions identify and support practices that enhance student engagement and increase student success. In this article, we explored student learning facilitated through High Impact Practices (HIPs) (i.e., in-class undergraduate research, service learning, internships) integrated in the Sustainability & Conservation Leadership Minor at Old Dominion University. In this new transdisciplinary minor, which was developed in partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, cohorts of students share three mandatory courses, including a capstone internship. Post-internship reflections were coded using triple loop learning theory, which identifies individuals’ values, beliefs, and ideologies. Results indicate students identified the internship as essential for career discernment and agency literacy, as well as inter- and intra-personal awareness to address sustainability challenges. The results underline that the impact of HIPs can be amplified if multiple HIPs are integrated in a comprehensive program addressing real-world problems through experiential learning within and outside of the classroom.

Author Biography

Eddie Hill, Old Dominion University

Park, Recreation and Tourism Studies


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Special Issue: Fostering a Culture of Sustainability through Outdoor Recreation