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Understanding Belonging to Improve Persistence: A Gende r Study. Tamara Floyd-Smith, Tuskegee University Denise Wilson (Project Lead) and Diane Jones , University of Washington Melani Plett , Seattle Pacific University Rebecca Bates, Minnesota State University, Mankato

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understanding belonging to improve persistence a gende r study

Understanding Belonging to Improve Persistence: A Gender Study

Tamara Floyd-Smith, Tuskegee University

Denise Wilson (Project Lead) andDiane Jones,University of Washington

MelaniPlett, Seattle Pacific University

Rebecca Bates, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Nanette Veilleux, Simmons College

2012 World Engineering Education Forum

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tuesday, October 16th

outline
Outline
  • Overview of the Full Study
  • Objective of the Current Study
  • Belonging Constructs
  • Results
  • Summary and Implications

Example of Belonging to a University Community:

HBCU Choir

Belonging - frequent, local and pleasant connections with others (Baumeister and Leary, 1995)

why study belonging
Why Study Belonging?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Self actualization

Appreciation,

recognition, esteem

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Social needs, sense of belonging

Safety, freedom from fear, order

Physiological Needs: Food and Water

background why does belonging matter

BackgroundWhy Does Belonging Matter?

Evidence of the importance of belonging and other connections to community:

In G6-12:

Increased engagement

Decreased drop-out rates

In higher education

Retention in STEM fields

Student/faculty success and fulfillment

In the workplace

Increased feelings of security, stronger self-concept, self-respect and coping abilities

overall project goals
Overall Project Goals
  • Conceptualizing the role of community in higher education
  • Assessing how various connections to community influence academic engagement
  • Transferring successful communities to other STEM environments
participating institutions
Participating Institutions
  • Northwest Research 1, Engineering and Computer Science
  • Midwest Comprehensive, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Northwest Faith-based, Engineering
  • Northeast Women’s College, Computer Science
  • Southeast Historically Black College/University (HBCU), Engineering

Research 1 Institution (> 40,000 students)

HBCU

(< 4,000 students)

overview of the full study
Overview of the Full Study
  • (Year 1) Conceptual model development ()
  • (Year 2) Instrument development and validation ()
  • (Years 2-4) Longitudinal study of community targeting sophomores and juniors (-)
  • (Year 5) Attempt to transfer results to other STEM environments
full study methods
Full Study Methods
  • Survey
    • Likert Scale Items
    • General student information: GPA, year in school, parental level of education
  • Focus Groups/Interviews
  • Classroom Observations

ClassroomObservations

Surveys

Focus Groups

objective and motivation of current study
Objective and Motivation of Current Study
  • Objective: Provide insight into belonging for STEM students with a focus on gender
slide10

Connections to Community

Is measured by

Entails

Belonging to Class

  • I feel accepted in this class.
  • I feel comfortable in this class.
  • I feel supported in this class.
  • I feel that I am part of this class.

a= 0.88

slide11

Connections to Community

Is measured by

Entails

Belonging to Major

  • I feel accepted in my major.
  • I feel comfortable in my major.
  • I feel supported in my major.
  • I feel that I am part of my major.

a= 0.85

slide12

Connections to Community

Is measured by

Entails

Belonging to University as Institution

  • I feel like I really belong at this school.
  • I really enjoy going to school here.
  • I wish I had gone to another school instead of this one.*
  • I wish I were at a different school.*

a= 0.87

*Reverse Coded

slide13

Connections to Community

Is measured by

Entails

Belonging to University as Community

  • People at this school are friendly to me.
  • I feel that there is a real sense of community at this school.
  • I feel like there is a strong feeling of togetherness on campus.

a= 0.80

classroom belonging
Classroom Belonging

Female students reported greater class belonging than male students.

major belonging
Major Belonging

Differences by gender are not statistically significant.

freshmen data
Freshmen Data

Female students report higher class belonging.

summary and implications
Summary and Implications
  • Summary: Either female students reported higher belonging or differences were not statistically significant.
  • Implications: Efforts to improve female representation may need to focus on prospective freshmen
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • National Science Foundation for funding (DRL-0909817, 0910143, 0909659, 0909900 and 0990850)
  • Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.