Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Higher Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Karyn Rabourn

Academic Year



Increasing literature suggests that lower levels of sense of belonging among underrepresented college students could be a contributing factor to their comparatively lower rates of persistence and retention than those of their non-underrepresented peers. This project explores the barriers underrepresented students face during their first year of college and the opportunities colleges and universities have to increase diverse efforts to foster positive perspectives of sense of belonging among underrepresented students. An effective program must acknowledge the differing needs of students at various points in their college career and must diversify beyond a traditional framework that caters to the needs of students from non-underrepresented backgrounds. A professional development series for academic advisors at the City College of New York will address the barriers, challenges, and adversities underrepresented students face and present opportunities for academic advisors across the institution to engage with and become educated on the varying needs of underrepresented students. Together summative and formative components of evaluation will be employed to measure the efficacy of the program and areas of improvement.