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Promoting Student Success Series

The Promoting Student Success Series encourages campuswide conversations about promoting and advancing the culture of student success. This lecture series has been designed to inform the development of a vision for the role of WSU educators in promoting student success.

Each academic year, WSU educators hear from nationally renowned speakers regarding student success efforts in various contexts. Our goal is to identify strategies to better coordinate WSU efforts around student success and better define the roles of educators in promoting student success.



August 21, 2023

College Belonging for Students

Lisa Nunn

Director of the Center for Educational Excellence, Professor of Sociology, University of San Diego

Keynote Address

10:15 – 11:30 a.m.

Austad Auditorium

What are colleges getting wrong about fostering a sense of belonging for students? How do students' many identities shape their experiences, their particular hurdles and challenges around belonging? Belonging is more than making friends and joining orgs. Understanding how belonging happens in the classroom (academic belonging) and how it happens in the campus culture (campus-community belonging) allows us to recognize the important role we play in offering belonging to our students rather than expecting them to go and find it for themselves. Join us to learn more about how the dynamics of belonging work and everyday strategies we can employ to build a stronger academic community for our students and ourselves.

Fostering Academic Belonging: Practical Strategies for Faculty

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

SU 404

What are the signs that students feel that they belong academically in college? They describe it as feeling competent; confident enough to raise their hand in class or talk to their professors one-on-one; and comfortable enough to study with peers. What can faculty do to foster academic belonging in our students? Come and find out! By making small shifts in our everyday interactions with students we can make a big difference in their college success.


Lisa Nunn is the director of the Center for Educational Excellence and a professor of sociology at the University of San Diego where she is also involved in issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Inclusion is at the forefront of her work. Nunn cares deeply about sense of belonging in the USD campus community. First-generation college students and first-year students are at the center of her interest in belonging, and faculty’s sense of belonging is at the center of the work she does in her role as director of the Center for Educational Excellence.

Nunn’s scholarship centers on students’ experiences, students’ identities, and students’ overall success and wellbeing. Her most recent book, College Belonging, follows first-year college students for two years to see how they navigate their new campus homes and what kinds of obstacles they face to developing a sense of belonging there. As a sociologist, she looks closely at communities and how they function. As a cultural sociologist and an organizations scholar, Nunn approaches research questions about student belonging by looking at what each university is doing with its policies, offerings and structures that foster a particular campus culture at each school. She also systematically interviews students to see what campus feels like to them, from their eyes, walking in their shoes. In doing so, she has been able to outline ways that small changes in teaching and in everyday interactions with students can make a big difference in their lives.


You can access the videos of previous presentations by enrolling in the Promoting Student Success Canvas course in three easy steps:

1. Go to:

2. Log in using your Wildcat username and password, (if you are not already logged in on the browser.) 

3. Click the "Enroll in Course" button located on the right side of the screen.

Please peruse the materials and feel free to contribute to the dialogue about what we can do to promote student success even more or better than we already do at WSU.