GCSSC 2020: Belonging and Student Success
Friday, November 13th 2020

The 2020 GCSSC seeks to explore the role of belonging in our practice as tutors, mentors, SI Leaders, and the people who direct and coordinate these folks. We would like to provide a space for presenters and attendees to consider the ways we already make space for belonging in our training, tutoring, and programs, as well as the potential that exists for us to implement belonging as part of our practices.

In his book, College Students’ Sense of Belonging, Terrell L. Strayhorn describes “belonging” in the following manner: “In terms of college, sense of belonging refers to students’ perceived social support on campus, a feeling or sensation of connectedness, and the experience of mattering of feeling cared about, accepted, respected, valued by, and important to the campus community or others on campus such as faculty, staff, and peers.” Student support services—like Supplemental Instruction, tutoring, and student mentoring—aim to create educational-focused campus communities where students can receive assistance and find belonging. As people who work in these spaces, we have a unique perspective from which to investigate the role of belonging to our teams and our students.

We would like to encourage participants to address the following questions:

The Math Center works with students who have difficulties related to math content and anxiety. As a Math Center tutor or administrator, how do you create a learning environment that helps students embrace the struggle of learning math?  How do you lessen the intimidation students may feel when seeking help from tutors? What activities and events do you host to explore math concepts that show how math can be fun and inviting?  What techniques do you discuss in training that create a culture of belonging?

The Student Mentors are experienced peer leaders who provide first-hand insight for navigating the college experience and who act as advocates for student success.  As a learning community, we invite you to consider the following questions:  Are there designated spaces on campus for students to go to for peer support?  Does your administration require proper training that encourages an environment of inclusivity and belongingness? What activities or strategies do you subscribe to that helps create a safe, inclusive space where social and academic growth can take place?

Supplemental Instruction provides students support for science classes. Support comes from designated SI Leaders who join students in class and create activities to help students gain mastery over class concepts. As SI Leaders, how does your program create an inclusive environment where students feel like they are welcome/feel like they belong? How do you and your program promote diversity and make space for myriad student perspectives? How do you work to overcome biases in your work with students?

The Writing Center helps students at all levels with reading, writing, and speech/communication assignments. As Writing Center consultants/tutors and administrators, we invite you to consider the following questions: What barriers to belonging exist at your institution? What makes students feel like they don’t belong? How do you/your Center work to ensure students feel like they belong? How do you create space in your sessions and in your center to make students feel like they belong? How do you/your director create training or procedures that make you feel like you belong? What activities or techniques do you have for welcoming writers who might be nervous or anxious about being in the Center? How do you build community between tutors, and between tutors and writers?

Presentations may address any issue of interest outside of the theme, but preference will be given to proposals dealing with the issue of belonging and student success. Break-out sessions will be populated with 50 minute presentations in one of these four presentation strands:

  •       Math Tutoring
  •       Student Mentors
  •     Supplemental Instruction
  •     Writing Tutoring

In keeping with our mission, the GCSSC provides a forum for tutors, SI leaders, and student mentors to share their practices, research, difficulties, and successes. While the GCSSC welcomes faculty, directors, coordinators, and administrators to attend, we prefer that they act as Chairs, Moderators, and/or Co-presenters with their tutors and student support staff. Individual and/or Panel presentations are acceptable. Proposals are due by 11:59pm on Friday, October 9th 2020.

Submit Group Proposal HereSubmit Individual Proposal Here