California State University, Dominguez Hills

Affirming the Importance of Belonging

Three students study at a table outside at California State University Dominguez Hills.
Photo courtesy of California State University Dominguez Hills

California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) is using its NSSE 2020 sense of belonging results in a variety of ways, including as part of their integrated assessment of their First Year Experience, in their routine sharing of results with Associate Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents, the General Education curriculum committee, and advising council, and other groups, and in an analysis of retention. The institution’s first-year student belonging averages looked very good overall, providing affirmation that CSUDH has created space that is inclusive. 

Though the circumstances for COVID-19 have kept students distanced from institution, the campus has used their results to encourage engagement practices that the Faculty Development Center has emphasized to underscore the faculty’s role in helping students feel valued and part of the community. Belonging results will be added to institutional dashboards to make the results more transparent. Analyses of belonging in relation to retention are underway, including a study of the 18% of students who noted they would not attend the institution again and had a poor quality experience, and an analysis of interaction effects with student characteristics (first-generation status and racial identity) and high and low levels of belonging.