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Credentials Display

Maureen E. Bowers - Neuroscience & Cognitive Science Program, University of Maryland, College Park

Leah Kreimer Tobin - Gemstone Honors Program, University of Maryland, College Park

Jessica Lee - Gemstone Honors Program, University of Maryland, College Park

Kristan Cliente Skendall - Gemstone Honors Program, University of Maryland, College Park

Frank J. Coale - Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park

Keywords

sense of belonging, living learning community, orientation, honors

Abstract

Gemstone seeks to develop students’ research and collaboration skills, foster leadership opportunities, and provide a sense of belonging on a large campus utilizing the Best Practices Model (BPM) and a variety of high impact practices (HIPs), like a Gemstone-specific orientation program called Gems Camp. While studies have demonstrated that LLCs increase students’ sense of belonging, the goal of this study is to explicitly test via propensity score matching if (a) enrollment in the Gemstone Honors Program increases sense of belonging compared to university students not in Gemstone and (b) attendance at Gems Camp increases sense of belonging in Gemstone students. Gemstone students (N=221) had an increased sense of belonging compared to matched university students (N=221). Moreover, Gemstone students who attended Gems Camp (N=92) had an increased sense of belonging compared to matched Gemstone students who did not attend Gems Camp (N=92). In conclusion, the Gemstone Honors Program is an example of an LLC with scaffolded high impact practices, such as intentional first year programming, undergraduate research, and collaborative projects, that promotes an increase in students’ sense of belonging, providing a model for other LLCs to consider in their programming efforts.

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