The climate or community that we create within our classroom and within our academic units can profoundly impact how individuals perform within those settings. This recent study in the Journal of Chemical Education determined that students’ social belonging in a general chemistry course could predict academic performance in that course. Social belonging included both an absolute sense of belonging and an uncertainty with that belonging. Further, that social belonging differed across demographics (gender was a strong difference). High sense of social belonging correlates with positive perceptions of climate, which is also true at the faculty and staff levels.
This recent article notes that “culture is often referred to as “the way things are done around here.” The article further notes that behaviors, systems, and practices – the three elements of culture – are all guided by an overarching set of values. It can be valuable to remember that individuals are drawn to espoused values when selecting an institution; when behaviors, systems, and practices do not align with espoused values, those individuals do not perceive a high sense of social belonging and will select themselves out. Thus, for us to retain our diverse talent at the student, faculty and staff levels, we can each carefully reflect upon, and change, our behaviors, systems, and practices to be consistent with our values.
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