Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2021

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Boyd Bradbury


Southeast Asian American Students; Sense of Belonging


The purpose of this study was to identify how faculty perceive their classroom interactions and practices influence sense of belonging for Southeast Asian American students. Research focusing on the sense of belonging in an institution has increased in the recent years and has been identified as a factor in the retention and persistence of college students. Feeling a sense of belonging is important when working with populations of underserved and underrepresented populations. The SEAA population is important because they have been lost in the shadow of the “model minority myth”, assuming to be successful in navigating higher education, while in reality, not persisting at the rate of other Asian populations such as Chinese, Korean, or Asian Indian.

The research was focused on the student perception rather than the faculty. The participants in this study are students from a mid-sized community college in a suburb of Minnesota. The students were invited through email with an anonymous survey to collect their responses. They were also invited to complete an open-ended questionnaire. The interview questions are derived from The Community College Equity Assessment Lab (2018) “Community College Success Measure” national survey.

The qualitative data was analyzed utilizing ground theory methodology of line-by-line open coding followed by axial coding, identifying themes and consistencies in student experiences. Quantitative data was analyzed in SPSS for descriptive statistics and two-tailed t-tests were utilized to identify significant statistical differences.

The research question leading this study is, how do faculty practices and interactions in the classroom encouraging a sense of belonging for SEAA students? The purpose of this study is to identify key practices faculty identify as creating a greater sense of belonging for SEAA students in the community college environment and to give recommendations of what could be done better or more often.



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