Deepening a sense of belonging
A LAS and Faculty collaboration to build inclusive teaching
Over the past decade a sense of belonging has become widely recognised as an important predicator of success. Consequently, universities must consider how teaching approaches impact on student sense of belonging amongst diverse student cohorts. This article compares the sense of belonging reported by students from diverse sub-cohorts before and after a tutor-focussed intervention. Tutor awareness of diversity and inclusive teaching practices were developed through tutor training, which positioned tutors as dominant actors in the unit habitus. When analysed across age, gender, cultural and linguistic background, caring responsibilities, social networks and disability, student survey data over three semesters indicated shifts in the student experience of learning. Findings suggest that changes in tutor awareness and teaching practices are correlated with a greater sense of belonging and positive experience of learning across a diverse student cohort. The article discusses the applied benefits of our mixed-methods research process, particularly of developing inclusive pedagogies amongst tutors in the time-poor higher education environment.