1st Edition

Academic Belonging in Higher Education Fostering Student Connection, Competence, and Confidence

Edited By Eréndira Rueda, Candice Lowe Swift Copyright 2024
    238 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    238 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The concept of belonging has been increasingly understood as the missing piece in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education. This book explores the need to recognize and account for institutional-level factors that shape academic belonging, thereby improving student experience and outcomes.

    Though recent scholarship has identified several factors that are associated with student belonging in academics, there is little research that addresses what faculty can do in concrete terms to promote belonging, particularly in the domains where they have the most influence. The 12 chapters in this volume introduce readers to an array of collaborative, cutting-edge efforts to develop pedagogies, programs, strategies, and environments that help students develop academic belonging; that is, a sense of connection, competence, and confidence in academic domains.

    This book is written for higher education faculty, administrators, and researchers who wish to enhance their students’ sense of academic belonging by taking informed, practical measures to make them feel valued and supported.

    1.         Introduction

    Eréndira Rueda and Candice Lowe Swift

    PART I. Pedagogies of belonging

    2.         Sense of belonging in the college classroom: Strategies for instructors

    Alice E. Donlan, Carlton E. Green and Virginia L. Byrne

    3.         What women want: Pedagogical approaches for promoting female students' sense of belonging in undergraduate calculus

    Casey Griffin and Dawn Berk

    4.         “We’re all in”: Fostering inclusion and belonging through culturally sustaining and anti-racist pedagogy

    Martha Alonzo-Johnsen, Anna Kurhajec, Patricia L. Maddox, Sarah McCann, Amir Z. Mohamed and Jennifer Trost

    PART II. Promoting academic belonging via the first-year seminar and department-wide interventions

    5.         The first-year seminar as a vehicle for belonging and inclusion for underrepresented college students

    Keisha C. Paxton, Yesenia Fernández and Joanna B. Perez

    6.         Strengthening learning communities: Belonging in a UK physics department

    Camille B. Kandiko Howson, Amy Smith, Jessie Durk, Michael F. J. Fox, Vijay Tymms and Mark Richards

    7.         "What's your major?": How one department addressed belonging and equity through a curriculum overhaul

    Denise Kennedy, Giselle Navarro-Cruz, Soon Young Jang, Eden Haywood-Bird and Nancy Hurlbut

    PART III. Fostering academic belonging through integrative and supportive learning communities

    8.         Building community for men of color through sense of belonging

    Theresa Ling Yeh, Joe Lott II and Kandi Bauman

    9.         Fostering belonging in a university research community of practice

    Alexandria Muller, Devon M. Christman, Jasmine McBeath Nation, Jasmine Mitchell, Kelly Vu, Nathalie Paesler and Diana J. Arya

    PART IV. Campus-wide strategies to address belonging at minority-serving institutions

    10.       Asset-based strategies for engagement and belonging among Latinx students at an open-access, research-intensive Hispanic-Serving Institution

    Erika Mein and Louie Rodriguez

    11.       Creating high-touch environments for belonging in touchless times: A Black college case study amid COVID-19

    Terrell L. Strayhorn

    PART V. Exploring the opportunities and limits of belonging

    12.       Reflections on the walking interview approach to examining university students’ sense of belonging

    Julianne K. Viola and Eliel Cohen

    13.       Reviving the construct of “mattering” in pursuit of equity and justice in higher education: Illustrations from mentoring and partnership programs

    Alison Cook-Sather, Peter Felten, Kaylyn (Kayo) Piper Stewart and Heidi Weston


    Eréndira Rueda is associate professor of sociology and the director of the Latin American and Latinx Studies multidisciplinary program at Vassar College.

    Candice Lowe Swift is associate professor of anthropology and serves on the steering committees of Africana Studies and International Studies at Vassar College.

    "This timely volume rightly charges colleges and universities with responsibility for cultivating belonging among the increasingly diverse students they admit and offers much needed insight and direction related to systemic approaches that foster academic belonging. Every student encounters faculty while in college and thus faculty, with the right tools and approach, can have a major positive influence over students’ sense of belonging—this solutions-oriented volume provides instructive guidance and novel ideas for how faculty can do that. On-going challenges to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts underscores the importance of this volume in advancing higher education’s duty to ensure diverse students’ sense of belonging and success in college."

     Joseph Kitchen, Ph.D., Associate Research Professor, University of Southern California

    "Academic Belonging in Higher Education is a must-read for anyone who cares about student success in college. This book draws from an array of real-world efforts in various college contexts and provides practical advice and guidance on centering student belonging through intentional institutional-level actions. The authors and editors have offered an informative resource for anyone interested in creating more inclusive and equitable learning environments at colleges and universities."

    Michael Steven Williams, Ph.D., University of Missouri