Belonging Research At The College Level

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The majority of belonging research at the college level has focused on the campus community and promoting belongingness among minority students (Strayhorn 2010; Strayhorn & Saddler 2009; Walton & Cohen 2011). From an academic and social view, belonging can be defined as a feeling of college belonging, college identity, connectedness, and intellectual competence. These are moments that do not always occur in the classroom. It can happen anywhere a student makes contact with other students and faculty to become involved in opportunities for engagement and learn success strategies (Hughes, Karp, & O’Gara, 2009). A sense of belonging also involves one’s personal belief that one is an accepted member of an academic community whose presence…show more content…
The seminal works of Spady (1970) first focused on the precursor concept of integration in higher education by adapting Durkheim’s (1951) social causation theory to create a model for college dropouts. Later, Tinto’s (1993) theory of student departure was developed to provide a framework for understanding what factors and environments impact a student’s decision to drop out. Tinto (1993) theorized that the first-year semester is a prime environment for students to consider social integration and campus engagement. Tinto’s (1993) theory of student departure is a longitudinal model that explains the interaction between the student and the institution which results in individuals dropping out, and identifies the factors that result in different types of dropout behavior. Although Tinto’s Theory of Student Departure is more than thirty years old, numerous authors, such as, Hu & Ma (2010), Lee & Choi (2011), Hu, McCormick, & Gonya (2012) have elaborated on the impact of how it contribute to the study of student retention. These authors concluded from their studies, that the Tinto’s Theory of Student Departure helped to enrich the understanding of student persistence in college. A mixed-method study by Morrow & Ackermann (2012) evaluated the importance of a sense of belonging and motivation in predicting intention to persist in college, and retention of students from their first to second year. One hundred and fifty-six
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