A Campus-Wide Collaborative Effort to Increase Student Sense of Belonging
Keywords:institutional collaboration, student belonging
This paper examines one university’s experience developing a campus-wide collaborative effort to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King. Recognizing the importance of student participation on students’ sense of belonging, the program planning and events emphasized student involvement. To illustrate the importance of student belonging at the university level, we discuss the universal application of Maslow’s (1954) belonging needs. From there, we explore the theoretical literature by Cooper (2009), Tinto (1993), Astin (1993) and Bandura (1977) on student belonging within higher education. We describe the Dr. King program and analyze it at the programmatic level by applying elements of Kezar’s (2005) model of institutional collaboration in higher education. We conclude by discussing the benefits of student involvement in the planning process and as participants in the program sessions to demonstrate how institutional collaboration that encompasses true student involvement can positively impact students’ sense of belonging at the university level.
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