Practices to Encourage Social Connectedness

Social connectedness refers to the creation of bonding relationships. Feelings of connectedness are a contributing factor to students' social belonging and are essential elements of student satisfaction, academic success, and retention in their own right. Students who feel a sense of social connectedness are more likely to have better social and academic experiences during college, including higher emotional wellbeing, and better health.

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 following practice recommendations can help encourage students' connectedness with instructors and peers. To view the practices organized by other social-psychological constructs, click here.

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

Creating a Belonging Story: Guidance on developing and adapting a brief exercise to help students understand that belonging concerns in college are normal, and not a signal that they do not belong or cannot succeed

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 

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

Creating an Attuned Assessment Wrapper: Resources for developing a practice that helps students prepare for, and debrief, key assessments in a way that emphasizes potential for growth, connects to resources, and does not inspire identity threat

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


The SEP Practices Library has been developed by CTC (© 2020) through 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 contact@ctcteam.org with any questions.