Fostering A Sense of Belonging and Community


With mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines, amid a world reshaped by the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, our learning environments this fall will look and feel very different. We all—students, staff, and faculty—have the power to keep our OHIO community safe and healthy. And this fall semester, community care will be a key element in student learning and success.

We know that a sense of belonging is a key predictor of well-being, engagement, and academic success. Students who feel connected to community, place, and purpose are more likely to excel academically. To complement your inclusive teaching practices, below are some resources to help you encourage your students to find belonging and stay connected with their Bobcat family. 

A great new resource for students related to wellness is the Promoting Bobcat Wellness website, and OHIO's LGBT Center, Multicultural Center, Office of Multicultural Success and Retention (OMSAR)Women's Center and the Campus Involvement Center are offering online co-curricular student engagement opportunities. 


In the News: Fostering A Sense of Belonging and Community 

How Colleges Can Cultivate Students’ Sense of Belonging, Chronicle of Higher Education (April 2018)

‘Sense of belonging’ enhances the online learning experience, The Conversation (August 2014)


Scholarly Articles 

Gummadam, P., Pittman, L. D., & Ioffe, M. (2016). School belonging, ethnic identity, and psychological adjustment among ethnic minority college students. The Journal of Experimental Education, 84, 289-306.  

Kennedy, G. J., & Tuckman, B. W. (2013). An exploration into the influence of academic and social values, procrastination, and perceived school belongingness on academic performance. Social Psychology of Education, 16, 435 – 470. 

Means, D. R., & Pyne, K. B. (2017). Finding my way: Perceptions of institutional support and belonging in low-income, first-generation, first-year college students first-generation, first-year college students belonging in low-income, first-generation, first-year college students. Journal of College Student Development, 58(6), 907–924.  

Nunez, A. (2009). A critical paradox? Predictors of Latino students’ sense of belonging in college. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 2(1), 46–61.  

Singh, K., Chang, M., & Dika, S. (2010). Ethnicity, self-concept, and school belonging: effects on school engagement. Educational Research Policy and Practice, 9, 159-175. 

Strayhorn, T. L. (2008). A hierarchical analysis predicting sense of belonging among Latino college students. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 7, 301-320. 

Wilson, D., Jones, D., Bocell, F., Crawford, J., Kim, M.J., Veilleuz, N., Floyd-Smith, T., Bates, R., & Plett, M. (2013). Belonging and academic engagement among undergraduate STEM students: A multi-institutional study. Research in Higher Education, 56(7), 750-776. 

Vaccaro, A., Daly-Cano, M., & Newman, B. M. (2015). A sense of belonging among college students with disabilities: An emergent theoretical model. Journal of College Student Development, 56(7), 670–686.

Vaccaro, A., & Newman, B. M. (2016). Development of a sense of belonging for privileged and minoritized students: An emergent model. Journal of College Student Development, 57(8), 925–942.

Vaccaro, A., & Newman, B. M. (2017). A sense of belonging through the eyes of first-year LGBPQ students. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 54(2), 137–149.

Zumbrunn, S., McKim, C., Buhs, E., & Hawley, L. (2014). Support, belonging, motivation, and engagement in the college classroom: A mixed method study. Instructional Science, 42(5), 661-684.