Deepening a sense of belonging

A LAS and Faculty collaboration to build inclusive teaching

  • Dr Maree Keating Learning and Academic Skills (LAS) Advisor, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
  • Dr Andrew Rixon Swinburne University of Technology
  • Dr Aron Perenyi Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Dr Maree Keating, Learning and Academic Skills (LAS) Advisor, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Dr Maree Keating is a LAS Advisor working closely with academics and students in the Faculty of Business and Law at Swinburne University of Technology. She was an senior lecturer and academic for twelve years prior to coming into her current role in 2017. Her responsibilities included convening and lecturing in a postgraduate program in Communication. Her current research interests include transition pedagogies, and inequities in work and education. 

Dr Aron Perenyi, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Dr Áron Perényi is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia. Dr Perényi was born and educated in Hungary, and completed his PhD in Australia. His research interests include entrepreneurship, international business, economic development, social marketing. Sense of belonging and professional identity – as an important component of Entrepreneurship education – is the basis of his applied research interests as an educator.

Published
2020-11-13
How to Cite
Keating, M., Rixon, A., & Perenyi, A. (2020). Deepening a sense of belonging: A LAS and Faculty collaboration to build inclusive teaching. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 14(2), 40-56. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/659