Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

David Anderson, PhD

Committee Member

Carmen McCallum, PhD

Committee Member

Raul Leon, PhD

Committee Member

Ethriam Brammer, PhD


A majority of institutions of Higher Education are seeking ways to provide environments that support student persistence in light of the overwhelming evidence of the impact of postsecondary degree attainment and life opportunities for individuals and communities. This study examines the relationships between student engagement, sense of belonging, identity, intersectionality, and student success indicators. For purposes of this study, 561 undergraduate students at a public regional institution provided demographic information, access to student success indicators, and completed a 47- question survey on student engagement and sense of belonging. Factor analysis determined five distinct dimensions of sense of belonging. Structure equation modeling suggests interactions with dimensions of sense of belonging and student engagement enable or inhibit each other and influence student success. In particular, students’ engagement was influenced by the level of sense of belonging they felt with other students and community as well as their sense of belonging with faculty and staff. In turn, time with faculty as well as engagement in activities related to the student’s academic major and minor influenced sense of belonging as well as student success indicators. Continued studies further exploring dimensions of belonging with diverse populations using the tenets of QuantCrit are recommended.