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How do Students Describe their Social Belonging in General Chemistry: A Qualitative Study

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Oliva Schmitz

This study focuses on the factors that students use to describe their feeling of social belonging in General Chemistry 1, specifically the factors they use to describe their level of comfort with their instructors in the classroom. Previous studies conducted by the Frey group conclude that students' social belonging affects persistence and academic success in general chemistry and physics 1 at the University of Utah. The aforementioned studies have also characterized two important components of social belonging: sense of social belonging and the belonging uncertainty. A sense of social belonging in the context of a college course is the perception of an individual's connectedness with people such as peers and instructors and the significance of course environment in fostering inclusivity. An important aspect of course-level sense of belonging is the amount of comfort that students have with their instructors. While recent quantitative studies show that social belonging affects student performance and retention in introductory STEM courses, there are very few studies that ask students what factors they consider when describing their belonging in these courses. In this current study, student responses from General Chemistry 1 about their comfort level with their instructors were analyzed to generate a codebook that contains nine remote and non-remote categories: Flexible and Amiable, Communicative and Organized, Human Aspect of Teaching, Perception of Instructor Knowledge, Perception of Instructor Teaching Practices, Perception of a Growth Mindset Culture, Identity, Non-Specific, and Non-Codable. In this presentation, I will present these categories with their definitions and representative quotes compiled from student responses. I will also discuss the implications for instructors to improve the inclusivity of their STEM courses, and the next steps for this project.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #A37
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Education
Faculty Mentor: Gina Frey