The positive relationship between sense of belonging and important outcomes for students is real, but less focus has been placed on the faculty who are also influenced by the institutions in which they work.
Understanding if faculty members feel comfortable being themselves, valued by the institution, and a part of the campus community is essential for improving the lives of the people so closely tied to student success. Measures of faculty belonging coupled with indicators of supportive faculty teaching environments help leaders in higher education more fully understand how to create institutions where students and faculty members thrive together.
In the spring of 2020, 13,048 faculty from 94 baccalaureate-granting colleges and universities expressed their agreement with three statements about their sense of belonging and four statements about the teaching environment at their institutions. We created a Sense of Belonging scale and a Supportive Teaching Environment scale by averaging faculty responses to the two groups of items.