ACUE Launches National Credential to Deepen Student Belonging through Campus-Wide Equity and Inclusion Efforts

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“Fostering a Culture of Belonging,” ACUE’s new microcredential course, is designed to equip every campus professional with actionable strategies to create a welcoming and inclusive environment.

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"ACUE’s new offering, Fostering a Culture of Belonging, will help us to ensure every student at UA-PTC feels a world of support at every step of their educational journey," said Chancellor Summer DeProw, University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College.

The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) today launched a new microcredential, Fostering a Culture of Belonging (FCB), designed to equip every instructor and staff member—from administrative leaders to admissions counselors, HR professionals, advisors, campus safety officers, and more—with actionable strategies they can implement to contribute to whole-campus diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Participating institutions will be better prepared to confront opportunity gaps, build rapport and trust between campus members through shared language and practice, and enhance daily interactions between students, faculty, and staff.

“Equity and inclusion are best achieved when they become everyone’s responsibility. Fostering a Culture of Belonging is designed to accelerate the process by bringing faculty, staff, and administrative leaders together, with a common language and proven practices to both mitigate the impact of biases and create an environment where everyone, from all walks of life, feels welcome. This offering is rooted in the diversity, equity, and inclusion research and can help any higher education institution ensure their students and colleagues feel seen, heard, and valued,” said Penny MacCormack, ACUE chief academic officer.

Through FCB, participants will expand their knowledge and implementation of inclusive practices by engaging in self-reflection exercises, authentic demonstrations showcasing faculty and staff from more than 20 institutions using the practices with students and colleagues. The course supports participants in learning to mitigate the impact of implicit biases, reduce microaggressions, address imposter phenomenon and stereotype threat, and cultivate an inclusive environment in which all students and colleagues experience a sense of belonging.

“Belonging is about making it possible for students and employees to tap into their full potential by knowing they are at a place where they are valued. Our newest offering recognizes that every member of a campus community plays a critical role in deepening students’ sense of belonging. When students feel they belong at an institution, they stay, thrive, and have measurably better outcomes,” said Scott Durand, ACUE chief executive officer.

Since 2015, ACUE has partnered with more than 450 colleges and universities to prepare and credential over 26,500 faculty in evidence-based teaching practices shown to lead to higher retention and achievement, deeper learning, and closed equity gaps. Building on the success of ACUE’s Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning microcredential for faculty, FCB is ACUE’s first offering intentionally designed to support additional campus roles, further strengthening opportunities for community building across an institution.

“Accelerating student success and equity takes more than a great class; it requires a whole campus committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. ACUE’s new offering, Fostering a Culture of Belonging, will help us to ensure every student at UA-PTC feels a world of support at every step of their educational journey,” said Chancellor Summer DeProw, University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College.

“At Germanna Community College, we are always looking for new ways to foster an intentional climate of diversity, equity, and opportunity for our campus community. Our previous microcredential experience with ACUE indicated that nearly all faculty participants learned a new approach, technique, or teaching method they were able to implement in their courses. Through this implementation, faculty were able create a more inclusive learning space for our students. We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with ACUE and utilize the Fostering a Culture of Belonging offering as a means of continuing our efforts to better serve our students,” said Scott Ackerman, coordinator for Teaching and Learning, Germanna Community College.

“Fostering a Culture of Belonging allows colleges and universities to meet the unique training needs of both faculty and staff, all the while centering on students and the impact that our practices and policies can have on them. At Rio Salado College, FCB will help us better understand how we can build a culture that prioritizes equity and inclusion in our interactions not only with students but with one another,” said Rio Salado college leaders.

“With ACUE’s new Fostering a Culture of Belonging microcredential, we now have access to a high quality, evidence-based program that will allow us to move our institutional commitments to equity and inclusion forward and make good on the promise of Arizona State University’s Charter – to be an institution measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed. By being able to reach all of our faculty and student services staff through ACUE’s dynamic and engaging online platform and curriculum design, we will also be able to do this work at scale. It is no exaggeration to suggest that through our partnership with ACUE, we now have the opportunity to make a positive impact in each and every single one of our classrooms, during every advising session, and within every residence hall and student space on our campus,” said Paul LePore, PhD, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University.

FCB courses will begin in January 2023. To hear students, administrative leaders, faculty and staff discuss the importance of FCB, visit go.acue.org/introducing-fcb. To learn more or connect with ACUE, go to acue.org/fcb.

About ACUE: The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) is on a mission to accelerate student success, belonging, and equity through quality instruction. In partnership with colleges, universities, higher education systems and associations, ACUE prepares and credentials faculty in the evidence-based teaching practices that lead to higher retention and achievement, deeper learning, and closed equity gaps. Numerous and independently validated studies confirm that students are more engaged, learn more, and complete courses in greater numbers—more equitably with their peers—when taught by ACUE Certified faculty. ACUE’s online, cohort-based credentialing programs are delivered through institutional partnerships and open enrollment courses endorsed by the American Council on Education.

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