UToledo Builds Sense of Belonging on Campus Through Student Experience Project

November 9, 2020 | Diversity, UToday, Engineering, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Student Affairs
By Staff

The University of Toledo is one of six universities nationwide selected to participate in the Student Experience Project to build community and a sense of belonging on campus.

The national effort is a collaboration among university leaders, faculty, researchers and national education organizations committed to innovative, research-based practices to tackle inequities in college success by transforming the student experience. It is an initiative of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities funded by the Raikes Foundation.

The #WeBelongInCollege Campaign will provide scholarship opportunities for students who share their college journey struggles.

“Our work on the Student Experience Project is fostering critically important conversations about the need to focus on students’ experiences in our classrooms and on our campus,” said Dr. Denise Bartell, associate vice provost for student success. “Through this partnership we are building tools and a network of grassroots leaders to support sustained and meaningful progress to improve equity of outcomes and student success at UToledo.”

The Office of the Provost is collaborating with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, College of Engineering and Institutional Research on the Student Experience Projects.

UToledo has received $250,000 in grant funding over three years to design and test interventions intended to promote equity of outcomes for historically underserved students in STEM programs.

Thirteen STEM instructors, called Equity Champions, will participate in the inaugural cohort of instructors for this long-term project. The instructors have committed to making evidence-based changes in their courses to improve student success and equity, focusing on issues such as belonging, social connectedness, identity safety and growth mindset.

The Equity Champions are part of an ongoing community of practice where they support each other, learn together, share ideas and develop resources to support student success.

The Student Experience Project also has partnered with Get Schooled for the #WeBelongInCollege Campaign that encourages students to share a story about a time when they questioned whether they belonged in college, how they overcame it and advice they have for other students who may be facing similar challenges.

The campaign looks to lift student voices and experiences by providing scholarship opportunities for students willing to share their college journey struggles to help others through peer-to-peer storytelling, which has proven to be an effective way to impact college students.

The deadline for students to submit their stories for fall semester to be eligible to win a $1,000 scholarship is Monday, Nov. 30.

For more information on the SEP project activities and team members, please visit UToledo’s Student Experience Project webpage.

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