Inclusive Academic Introduction

Providing a start for students that facilitates sense of belonging

Inclusive Academic Introduction 2019

This toolbox is a powerful and easy to implement intervention that can foster a sense of belonging for diverse students. Sense of belonging is an important indicator to student retention and satisfaction.[1][2] We use the definition of the sense of belonging as the feeling of being a welcome and contributing member of a community. [3]

The exercise below was created by us based on the "Introduction hour" session by DISCO (the Diversiteit en Inclusie StudentenCOmmissie of the Erasmus Medical Centre (MC)). Above is an example of how the session was run by DISCO in 2019, below is a downloadable template to be able to run the session yourself.

This is a guide on how to conduct an introduction to a bachelor's program that is both inviting and inclusive. The exercise is designed to be carried out on the first day of class not the introduction week. The exercise contains ice-breakers, and sharing of vulnerabilities about the difficulties around studying and information about building a support network.

This exercise is "designed from the margins" meaning that it has a significant impact on retention of minorities yet it is also benefits majority students; everyone benefits. [4

Dr. Kerstin Perez, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, asked herself the question "How can I as an individual instructor retain as many interested students as possible?" The answer she provided during Leiden University's Annual D&I Symposium 2021 shows that small interventions, such as the one provided here, have a big impact on retention rates and grades of all students. You can find a link to her talk here. (Timestamp: 31:13-43:35)

The people that need to be present are:

  • Multiple instructors involved in the first year bachelor of the study program
  • At least two senior students
    • preferably students actively involved in the faculty
  • All first year bachelor students in a given program (this should be included in their official schedules)

The framework of the session is given below and is elaborated in the PowerPoint:

  • Introduction
  • New students introduce themselves to each other (pairs)
  • Mentimeter question (plenary)
  • Personal stories from the senior students
  • Exchange of experiences (pairs)
  • Plenary recap of some stories by students and supervisors
  • Networks of support
  • Closing

Use this PowerPoint as a template and adapt it to fit your program/class.

  • Projector
  • PowerPoint (provided below)
  • Mentimeter (or relevant alternative)
  • Music (Optional)
  • Microphone (dependent on size of classroom)

You may also like...

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes