"They have stories to tell”: a symphony exploring BIPOC belongingness, joy, and struggle through improvement science and culturally relevant practices in the community college

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Grace E. Cheshire (Creator)
Erika Lytle Lett (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Emily Virtue

Abstract: Community colleges have a long-standing history of providing higher education to countless individuals who might not otherwise have been offered access. Research demonstrates that faculty members wield an abundance of power in fostering sense of belonging within their classrooms (Byrd, 2016; Carales et al., 2019; Danowitz, 2011; Eagen & Jaeger, 2008; Fong et al., 2021; Hlinka, 2017; Hoffman et al., 2002; Kezar & Maxey, 2012; Ladson-Billings, 2011; Strayhorn, 2019; Wood & Turner, 2010). As such, a focus on the classroom for improving sense of belonging remains compelling. The lack of a culturally relevant campus climate in the community college setting results in students of color continuing to enroll in large numbers while remaining underrepresented in the composition of college faculty and curricula. Such underrepresentation presents a barrier to fostering sense of belonging among students of color while attending college. Lower rates of sense of belonging place students of color at higher risk to not form meaningful relationships on campus or earn a college credential, leading to fewer job prospects, lower wage-earning potential, and less access to quality healthcare and retirement benefits, all of which perpetuate inequity and marginalization. By utilizing an improvement science and phenomenological approach, this disquisition leverages an equity-driven framework for implementing culturally relevant practices within the classroom to explore improving sense of belonging for students of color enrolled at the community college level.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
belongingness, community college, culturally relevant pedagogy, improvement science, social justice
Community colleges
Racial justice in education
Belonging (Social psychology)
Culturally relevant pedagogy
Social justice

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