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Module 4: Pathways to Support Student Success


  • Discover how inclusion and belonging can lead to greater success for students.
  • Learn about the importance difference between equity and equality.
  • Explore ways to strengthen students’ connection to your school and provide effective support them when they face challenges.


Every interaction with a student offers an opportunity to strengthen, or weaken, a student’s sense of belonging. Every conversation, email communication, instruction on a form, image on a brochure or poster, or policy revision can reinforce that your school is a place where students are equitably supported. Every point of engagement offers an opportunity to increase a student’s likelihood of degree completion and success, by reinforcing that they are seen, heard, and belong.

Building a college experience that provides every student with an equitable chance of success requires us to create equitable, inclusive processes and experiences. When we demonstrate to a student that they are not alone and reinforce that they have the inner strength and ability to stay on course, they are more likely to stay engaged and discover ways to navigate the challenges they are facing. When we prioritize time and resources to provide what students really need, not what we think they need, we can make real change to improve outcomes. While every need may not be instantly met, the process of moving towards solutions can begin.

The content in this module can help users:

  • Understand the connection between student success and belonging.
  • Consider what it means to provide equitable pathways to student success.
  • Think about ways that small changes could have a big impact on your students’ experiences and strengthen their potential to navigate challenges.

Tips for Using This Module

  • Group Meetings and Staff Training: Select and share videos that support your goals during staff meetings. Use the Featured Video Worksheet (below) with groups, or as an individual.
  • Onboarding New Staff: Integrate resources into onboarding materials for new hires.
  • Individual Professional Development: Provide access to resources to staff to support their personal learning goals and professional growth.

Introducing Equitable Inclusion and Belonging as Pathways to Support Student Success

Use these brief videos to kickstart the conversation during your staff-training session.

What I have learned as a first-generation college student

Lyric Swinton | TEDxUofSC | This video is (4:49)

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Equity vs. Equality

This video is (4:30)

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Reflection Questions

After watching the introductory videos, encourage participants to think about or share their thoughts.

  • When you think about what it feels like to belong, what comes to your mind? Can you think of times or places where your sense of belonging was strong, and other times when it felt absent, or weak?
  • Consider different aspects of your students’ experiences from an ‘equity lens’. When you apply an equity lens, it means you are analyzing or diagnosing the impact of processes, policies, forms, communications, conversations—all points of engagement with a student—and considering the impact on students who are under-served or marginalized. Using an equity lens can identify changes that can be made to potentially eliminate barriers.

Featured Video

Use this video and worksheet as a starting point for you or your team. Consider how all students could be equitably supported through their learning journey. There are concepts presented in the video that can be translated to a college environment to help build connection, and better support students facing barriers.

Featured Video: The Visionary Pragmatism of Communities of Belonging

The Visionary Pragmatism of Communities of Belonging | Reagan Jackson | TEDxMercerIslandHSWomen (17:27)

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Follow-up Worksheet

Use this worksheet as a follow-up activity with your team or staff members.

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In-Depth Videos

Use these videos to learn more about into equity and belonging, as pathways to support student success.

What do we really mean when we say college isn’t for everyone?

This video is 16:31.

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Strategies for Advancing Equity in Higher Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This video is 53:25.

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Postsecondary Pathways | Completion in the Age of COVID-19

This video is 59:35.

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Additional Print Resources

Download these print resources for to use in staff-training or as an individual.


These books offer an in-depth look at pathways to student success.


Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work

By: Sue Unerman, Kathryn Jacob, and Mark Edwards

A groundbreaking investigation into diversity and equality in the workplace, and a clarion call to the people in power who need to rethink their place in the boardroom and become part of the solution.

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The Equity and Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students

By Baruti K. Kafele

You, the teacher, play a critical role in your students' success. The questions that Kafele asks in this book will help enhance your own understanding of race, systemic racism, and racial justice and guide you in developing strategies and lessons that speak to Black students in ways that truly support their achievement.

Learn More

Downloadable Toolkits

These print resources offer an in-depth look at pathways to student success.


College Completion Toolkit

This toolkit gathers data-driven student supports from a sample of these institutions as a resource for institutional leaders.

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Higher Education Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit

This Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Toolkit helps college and university leaders develop strategies and actions to prioritize equity across campus.

Read Now