Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (TeLEd) research group
TeLEd Monthly Research Series

Belonging, Mattering, Equity, and Student Success in Higher Education

This exciting instance of the TeLEd Monthly Event Series will feature one of the leading international figures in the fields of University Pedagogy and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Peter Felten is Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Learning, and Professor of History at Elon University in North Carolina. For this academic year, he is also serving as Fulbright Canada Distinguished Research Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Carleton University in Ottowa, Ontario. He has published six books on teaching and learning in higher education, including Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College (2020). This talk will focus on his research for his upcoming book, which will come out later this year from Johns Hopkins University Press. Peter will be joined by Heidi Weston, Undergraduate Researcher, Elon University, class of 2023 (History and Education).

Picture of Peter Felten
Elon University, used with permission

Main content

The construct of “belonging” is commonly used to understand and explain student learning and experiences at university, including in efforts to make higher education more equitable and inclusive. Students who have a sense of belonging are more likely than their peers to be academically successful and also to report positive well-being at university. However, belonging has limitations, perhaps most significantly related to students with historically marginalized identities and backgrounds in higher education. In this workshop we explore “mattering,” a concept related to, but distinct from, belonging. We will briefly share some of our research, analyzing interviews with students from historically marginalized identities and backgrounds at three U.S. institutions. We then will facilitate conversation about the implications of “mattering” for academic development efforts to enhance teaching, learning, inclusion, and equity in higher education.