What does student belonging mean to you?
KERIN ELSUM (Lecturer, School of Media and Communication): It’s really three parts that I see for student belonging. The first bit is making the students really feel like they belong as an RMIT student. This sort of happens around first year and second year. But it’s also really important for me with my Advertising students that they also feel they belong as part of the Advertising profession, and start to get an identity for the profession that they are going into. There’s also a bit more to belonging, which is to the society at large which I think is really important to get them to feel like they are a part of that as well.
JULIAN PRATT (Multidisciplinary Program Coordinator, School of Architecture and Design): There is a way of thinking about things in multifaceted ways. The idea of a place, the idea of a tribe, and the idea of a profession. So what student belonging is about is feeling like you’re part of all those three. Feelings accepted and being able to operate within that space, and confidence and assurance that you’re accepted within that space.
MARCO DE SISTO (Early Career Development Fellow, School of Management): To me, belonging means in general to be part of something like a team, a group… even a place. Where you feel comfortable, accepted, loved, not judged in a sense. There is not much different to me belonging student belonging and any other form… employment belonging or human belonging. At the end of the day it’s a psychological need that everyone has, that’s why it’s universal. And we try to incorporate and fill that kind of need.
GENEVIEVE DICKSON (Student Experience Manager, School of Management): Yes, and I think that from a student perspective, belonging to me… I see it as students being perceived as being valued. I think that’s something we need to make sure of… that they are valued. It is part of the inclusion, the acceptance… but showing students that we do value you, that you are a very important part of this university, is key to that belonging.
MUNIR MUNIRUZZAMAN (Program Manager Associate Degrees, School of Vocational Engineering Science and Health): We want our students to integrate with RMIT and feel that they are part of a bigger family; an RMIT family. So it’s not that they are only paying fees and taking the services, they can be involved with us. And the more they are involved with us, the more effective the teaching will be, the learning will be... So basically, we want them to feel that they are part of RMIT, and that we progress together. We enhance each other’s abilities together.
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