Driver 2 - Supportive Instructor & Course Interactions

Resources in this Change Idea

Evidence Base

Social belonging is the feeling of being valued and connected to others in one’s learning community. Experiencing social belonging in college is positively associated with academic engagement, social integration, and retention (Tinto, 1987, 1993; Hurtado & Carter, 1997; Hausmann et al., 2007). A belonging story is a short story about a challenge a person encountered in their academic or professional career, which made them worry about the extent to which they belonged or fit in within a particular context. The belonging story also includes how they resolved or lessened their concern over time by using agentic strategies, like connecting with resources, to improve their experience. When students understand that belonging concerns are normal and not a signal that they do not belong or that they lack academic potential, students are more likely to stay engaged, seek help when they need it, and persist through academic challenges (Murdock-Perriera et al., 2019; Murphy et al., 2020).



College Transition Collaborative/Equity Accelerator

Andrew Rowland
Professor, College of Population Health, University of New Mexico


Instructors across the SEP network used evidence-based resources in the SEP Classroom Practices Library to develop their approach to sharing belonging stories in the classroom. The resource guides in the Classroom Practices Library helped instructors craft authentic stories that communicate that worries about belonging are normal and show how those concerns can be resolved over time. Dr. Andy Rowland (University of New Mexico) shared his own belonging story and then encouraged students to share belonging stories and messages for the benefit of other students. The supports in the Classroom Practices Library help instructors like Dr. Rowland be successful in implementing these practices in ways that are attuned to students’ experiences. Click the link below to learn more about creating a belonging story, review the evidence-based implementation guide, and see how Dr. Rowland adapted this practice for his classroom context.