Student Experience Project:
Practices Library (Beta)

In many college courses, students from backgrounds that have been excluded from or who are underserved in higher education are far less likely to experience identity safety, social belonging, or instructors who effectively communicate confidence in their potential. This experience gap contributes to the broader opportunity gap because these affirming experiences are crucial for students to fully engage and successfully persist in college.

The Student Experience Project is informed by over three decades of research in social psychology, education, and brain science demonstrating that when learning environments are designed to promote a sense of belonging and support for student learning, students are more likely to take advantage of campus resources to support their success, persist through challenges, and help close outcome gaps by group membership (Steele, 1997; Walton et. al., 2015; Murphy & Destin, 2016).

The SEP is drawing on this evidence base, along with feedback from students, and on the ground expertise from instructors, staff and administrators, to develop practical approaches that instructors can use in their courses to bolster student engagement and increase equity in academic outcomes and support students' success. The practices in this library were developed by the College Transition Collaborative, with feedback and collaboration from our university partners.

Below you will find a Beta version of the SEP Practices Library organized by change recommendation bundles. To view the library organized by social psychological construct, click here.

Syllabus Review

Your syllabus is a powerful tool for course planning and development. Conducting a syllabus review provides instructors with a framework for creating a course that promotes equity in students’ experiences and outcomes in its structure and content throughout the term. By ensuring that the messages, policies, and practices included in course syllabi communicate a growth mindset about student potential, and promote a sense of belonging, course instructors have a powerful opportunity to support student achievement, foster well-being, and contribute to equity in education.

Syllabus Review Guide

The resources included in this section provide general guidelines on designing practices to foster belonging, equity, and growth in higher education, and evidence-based practices that can be used to design a course that promotes equity in students’ experiences and outcomes in its structure and content throughout the term. 

Overview: Effective Social Belonging Messages

Overview: Effective Growth Mindset Messages

Policy Review: Creating Student-Centered Course Policies

Establishing Expectations: A Growth Mindset Approach

Creating a Belonging Story

Encouraging Connections in the Classroom

The following evidence-based practices provide instructors with guidance on how to provide critical feedback in a way that promotes student engagement and learning.

Creating an Attuned Assessment Wrapper

Creating a Wise Feedback Framing Statement

The following evidence-based practices provide recommendations for creating an inclusive classroom environment where students feel valued, respected, and as though they can reach their full potential.

Ensuring Classroom Identity Safety

Addressing an Identity Threatening Incident 


The following is a list of references cited throughout the above-linked resources. 

SEP Practices Library References

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

Help us improve the SEP Practices Library!
Use the Practices Library Feedback Form to provide feedback on the change practices you have tried,
and to provide suggestions for improving the library over time.

Email with any questions.