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University of Leeds

Dear colleagues,

A sense of belonging is important for wellbeing, student experience and maximising student success. We achieve this through the relationships between staff and students, the opportunity to develop networks and positive connections with the curriculum.

Creating a sense of belonging for students when the majority of their learning is delivered online is something we all need to consider. There are groups particularly at risk including those from under-represented groups e.g. WP and disabled students.

Available resources:
To help you think about how you can continue to build strong relationships and support students in a hybrid environment, we've created new sense of belonging resources to help you consider the changes you'll make to your practice:

How do I find out more?
There are upcoming workshops to introduce you to sense of belonging, help you understand what resources and support are available, and the role you play in creating a sense of belonging. These include:

  • Register your interest for a Sense of Belonging Q&A: 14 September 4pm-5pm
    The Q&A will provide an introduction to sense of belonging, a whistle-stop tour of the resource, an opportunity to ask any questions and to support you in creating a sense of belonging.
  • Student success forum - TBC
Further details on the workshops will be provided in due course.

Date for your diaries:
On Thursday August 27 at 10am, our Share Adopt Adapt Workshop (SAAW) will look at Building a Student Community Online.

Katie Livesey, Teaching Excellence Manager at LITE, will speak about the work of the Sense of Belonging workstream, the principles they have drawn up and the resources they have created; Gerard Duff, Teaching Fellow at the School of Mechanical Engineering will speak about his experience building an online community among Online Distance Learning students; and Nina Wardleworth, Lecturer at the School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies, will share her experience maintaining a sense of community among her first year students as lockdown restrictions were imposed. 
Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues to ensure all staff can consider the part they play in creating a sense of belonging for students.

If you have any questions or queries, please email Louise Banahene:

Many thanks, 
Louise Banahene and Paul Taylor

Louise Banahene
Head of Educational Engagement
Paul Taylor
Professor of Chemical Education

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