Panel K.02 — Becoming adult. Higher education impact practices to ensure an equitable and quality transition.

Convenors Laura Fedeli (University of Macerata, Italy); Rosita Deluigi (University of Macerata, Italy); Gigliola Paviotti (University of Macerata, Italy)

Keywords emerging adulthood, high impact practices, transition.


The aim of the panel is to present innovative theoretical and/or practical insights in the higher education context that could integrate the international debate about emerging adulthood and the multifaceted process of transition.

Emerging adulthood “represents a singularly important life phase in the development of purpose” (Bundick, 2011) and in the acquisition of necessary skills and knowledge to reach full autonomy at social and community level, civic responsibility and career reflection and development.

Formal and informal educational contexts may activate high impact practices (HIPs), that is, purpose fostering initiatives; the definition of HIPs provided by The American Association of Colleges and Universities addresses educational courses that “help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own”, opportunities that could be particularly beneficial for “demographic groups historically underserved by higher education”. Those practices may have different formats (collaborative projects; e-portfolios; first-year seminars and capstone courses; internships; etc.) according to institutional vision and contextual needs.

The panel welcomes proposal from different disciplinary perspectives related to higher education that aims at addressing the topic of transition from either a theoretical or empirical dimension of analysis. Studies that are framed within educational experiences (formal-informal) can apply quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method research methodologies and there will be taken into consideration both proposals based on single and multiple case-study approaches and wider research contributions with an interdisciplinary connotation and/or based in a community-based participatory dimension.

Proposal can deal with the following macro areas of interest connected to the processes of transition:

  • Transformative and high impact practices (e.g. enhancement of intercultural openness, interdisciplinary approach, interprofessional dialogue);
  • Experiential learning initiatives, pre-professional ones (e.g. internship) and/or (co)curricular ones e.g. (tutoring, mentoring);
  • Service-learning (e.g. trajectories of partnership between the university and the community; initiatives of community learning to promote employability);
  • emerging adulthood, civic identity representation and social media.


Guidelines and abstracts submission