Practices to Promote Identity Safety

Situational cues can signal that a social identity one holds is either valued or devalued in a particular context. When the situation cues signal that one’s social identities are valued, they feel identity safety. If, however, the situation cues signal that one’s social identities are devalued, they experience identity threat, and one’s identity becomes strongly felt and psychologically central. Learning in environments that support identity safety is associated with higher rates of social belonging and better academic performance among college students.

The SEP Practices Library contains practice recommendations that instructors can use in their courses to bolster student engagement and increase equity in academic outcomes. The practice recommendations included below can help promote identity safety, particularly among students from social groups that are underrepresented or marginalized in higher education. To view the practices organized by other social-psychological constructs, click here.

Ensuring Classroom Identity Safety: Approaches for creating classroom learning environments where students from diverse identities feel welcome, valued, respected, and as though they are recognized as having the potential to succeed

Addressing an Identity Threatening Incident: Guidance on a straightforward and practical approach for addressing identity-threatening incidents in a way that promotes students’ identity safety and social belonging, and builds connection and trust 

Policy Review: Student-Centered Course Policies: A step-by-step guide for crafting course policies that promote equity and acknowledge and accommodate the lived experiences of diverse student populations

Encouraging Connections in the Classroom: Approaches for encouraging connections between students and the instructional team, and among students

Creating a Wise Feedback Framing Statement: Guidance on delivering critical feedback in a way that engenders trust, increases academic engagement, and helps close academic outcome gaps

Helping Students Develop Self-Efficacy in Your Course: Approaches instructors can use to help bolster students' belief in their ability to do well in their current course

Supporting Self-Efficacy by Integrating Self-Relevance and a Sense of Purpose into Your Course: Approaches to help students see their coursework as relevant to their own experiences and their future goals

Supporting Financially Stressed Students: Recommendations for practices that can help support financially stressed students' learning, sense that they belong in college, and belief in their ability to succeed


The SEP Practices Library has been developed by CTC (© 2020) through the Student Experience Project.
Copying or
reproducing this resource is prohibited.

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Use the Practices Library Feedback Form to provide feedback on the change practices you have tried,
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