Cultivating a Sense of Belonging for Black or African American First-Year Students
Given contemporary concern for racial justice, we examined the engagement of Black or African American first-year students with their perceptions of belonging.
We divided respondents into three equally sized groups—lowest, middle, and highest—according to their sense of belonging scores (Table 1). Within any demographic, there is variability in sense of belonging, and by examining what relates to these differences we can identify ways to improve experiences for all.
Black students with more positive connections with their institution engage in more integrative learning with diverse perspectives and have more positive relationships with their faculty (p < .05, AR = 11.5 and AR = 31.0, respectively). These students also feel that their institution more strongly emphasizes contact among students from different backgrounds (p < .05, AR = 28.1) and attending events that address important social issues (p < .05, AR = 23.7).