2nd Edition

Bandwidth Recovery Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization

By Cia Verschelden Copyright 2025
    208 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Bandwidth Recovery explores how students’ cognitive resources are diminished by persistent economic insecurity, childhood trauma, and marginalization, while offering strategies and interventions to help learners regain the bandwidth they need to succeed in college.

    When college students feel like they don’t belong – or are fearful, uncertain, or otherwise prevented from being their authentic selves – much of the mental bandwidth needed for learning is not available. When they are food insecure, financially unstable, or coping with the effects of childhood trauma, cognitive capacity is likewise diminished. Beginning with analysis of the most up-to-date research on the mental and physical impact of poverty, racism, and other forms of social marginalization, Cia Verschelden presents vetted approaches for promoting a growth mindset and self-efficacy in students. Readers will learn to develop supports that build upon students’ values and prior knowledge with the goal of creating a sense of belonging and community both in and out of the classroom. New to this edition are updated terminology and discussions of neurodiversity, childhood trauma, economic inequality, and the ongoing effects of the COVID pandemic.

    This book is intended for all higher education faculty, student affairs professionals, administrators, and scholars interested in creating learning environments where every student has the chance to succeed.

    Part 1: The Bandwidth Tax of Marginalization: Poverty, Racism, and Economic Inequality  1. Physical Health  2. Mental Health  3. Economic Inequality and Its Cost in Human Capacity  4. Available Cognitive Capacity – Bandwidth  Part 2: Sociopsychological Underminers: Broken Connection  5. Childhood Trauma  6. Belonging Uncertainty  7. Stereotype Threat and Identity Threat  8. Human Connection  9. Focus on LGBTQ Students  10. Neurodiversity  11. Uncertainty: Existential Anxieties  Part 3: Supporting Bandwidth Recovery  12. Trauma-informed/Asset-focused Practice  13. Belonging: Building Community/Intentional Connection  14. Decreasing Stereotype Threat and Identity Threat  15. Growth Mindset  16. Minimizing Uncertainty: Institutional Structures and Processes


    Cia Verschelden was a Special Projects Advisor at the American Association of Colleges & Universities and former Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Malcolm X College – City Colleges of Chicago. Holding an EdD from Harvard University and an MSW from the University of Connecticut, Cia has over 30 years of student affairs, faculty, and administration experience at both two- and four-year public institutions.

    "Bandwidth Recovery was first published in 2017, just as I completed my term as President of Morehouse College. My only regret is that it was not published sooner, because I would have been armed with the perfect vocabulary and playbook for improving the living, learning and working environments for all students, faculty, and staff. It is now axiomatic – victims of systemic marginalization and “othering” pay a much higher bandwidth tax than most. Thus, any campus leaders who are determined to position everyone to optimize their skill sets, mindsets, and toolsets must read this book. And without even mentioning the current controversies, Verschelden provides the best way to clarify the value proposition of all offices devoted to diversity, equity and inclusion – that is, to lower the bandwidth taxes and restore the cognitive capacities of those with academic and life profiles that most warrant it. Rather than controversial, that is America at her best!"

    John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., Managing Director of the Open Leadership Project at the MIT Media Lab, former President of Morehouse College, USA, and Author of Hope and Healing: Black Colleges and the Future of American Democracy.