Belonging is central to achieving equity in higher education. Students who experience belonging are more likely to complete courses, persist to the next year, and complete a degree (Bentrim & Henning, 2022; Hurtado & Carter, 1997; Strayhorn, 2018). However, online classes have been largely excluded from that research. Online classes can’t be left out because they remove the barriers of place and time that prevent so many students from achieving their goals and improving their social mobility.
The Humanizing Online STEM Academy has been linked with improved equity mindsets and an increase in equitable online teaching practices among faculty. Students in undergraduate humanized online courses report high rates of belonging with higher increases in belonging (from the start to end of a class) reported by Black, Latinx, Native American, and Pacific Islander students. (View the research brief for more findings.)
The Academy is proving to be a transformative professional development program that is helping institutions leverage access and inclusive teaching to close equity gaps. To learn more about the design and implementation of the Academy, we invite you to read our new article, published in the Journal of Educational Research & Practice, In Search of Belonging Online: Achieving Equity through Transformative Professional Development.
Bentrim, E. M. & Henning, G. W. (Eds). (2022). The impact of a sense of belonging in college: Implication for student persistence, retention, and success. Stylus.
Hurtado, S., & Carter, D. F. (1997). Effects of college transition and perceptions of the campus racial climate on Latino college students’ sense of belonging. Sociology of education, 324-345.
Strayhorn, T. L. (2018). College students’ sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. Routledge.