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Exploring student understandings of belonging on campus

Exploring student understandings of belonging on campus Purpose – The purpose of this study is to build upon existing literature regarding student engagement by exploring belonging on campus as an aspect of this. It examines how students understand, experience and articulate belonging at the university wide level and aims to incorporate the student perspective and voice into discussions on engagement. Design/methodology/approach – The exploratory research employed a mixed method, but largely qualitative approach, to examine the understandings, experiences and perspectives that people hold and make use of. An online questionnaire (using open and closed questions), several snap‐shot interviews and seven in‐depth semi‐structured interviews were used to establish the central issues via thematic analysis. Findings – A number of key themes are presented in relation to how and why students felt they belonged, and indeed why some students felt that they did not belong, were not included or even excluded. The findings revealed that the campus is a factor worthy of attention when considering student engagement, that students do have a sense of belonging that is related to this and that there could be implications for engagement and even retention for those whose sense of belonging or inclusion is questioned or compromised. Practical implications – It also raises practical implications for institutions in terms of how to organise and develop campus space and activity to help foster belonging and community. Suggesting that it would be beneficial to consider access to participation and involvement through campus spaces and opportunities in order to enhance engagement and feelings of inclusion and belonging. Originality/value – This paper offers further insight into student engagement by considering belonging beyond classroom interactions, via the wider campus and at university level. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Exploring student understandings of belonging on campus

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2050-7003
DOI
10.1108/17581181211273075
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to build upon existing literature regarding student engagement by exploring belonging on campus as an aspect of this. It examines how students understand, experience and articulate belonging at the university wide level and aims to incorporate the student perspective and voice into discussions on engagement. Design/methodology/approach – The exploratory research employed a mixed method, but largely qualitative approach, to examine the understandings, experiences and perspectives that people hold and make use of. An online questionnaire (using open and closed questions), several snap‐shot interviews and seven in‐depth semi‐structured interviews were used to establish the central issues via thematic analysis. Findings – A number of key themes are presented in relation to how and why students felt they belonged, and indeed why some students felt that they did not belong, were not included or even excluded. The findings revealed that the campus is a factor worthy of attention when considering student engagement, that students do have a sense of belonging that is related to this and that there could be implications for engagement and even retention for those whose sense of belonging or inclusion is questioned or compromised. Practical implications – It also raises practical implications for institutions in terms of how to organise and develop campus space and activity to help foster belonging and community. Suggesting that it would be beneficial to consider access to participation and involvement through campus spaces and opportunities in order to enhance engagement and feelings of inclusion and belonging. Originality/value – This paper offers further insight into student engagement by considering belonging beyond classroom interactions, via the wider campus and at university level.

Journal

Journal of Applied Research in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 21, 2012

Keywords: Belonging; Engagement; Inclusion; Campus; Students; Universities

References