Sense of Belonging: Impact of HBCU Living Learning Communities on University Retention

Brent Dukhie, Tennessee State University


This research investigated the pivotal role of Living Learning Communities (LLCs) within a public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) institution in the southeast region within the United States in fostering a sense of belonging among students and its subsequent influence on the university retention rate for freshman students. A mixed-methods approach was used to gather participant data for this study. An online survey was used to collect quantitative data. The target population was 2022-2023 freshman who did not return for the fall. Most of the 18–20-year-old participants were African American (n = 100, 98%). In addition, seven students of the 100 survey respondents participated in a focus group. The survey included Likert-scale questions to assess agreement or disagreement with statements regarding the factors of interest (feeling of belonging, involvement, intent to stay at the institution). In addition, students participated in a focus group to discuss how living-learning communities have affected their sense of belonging and university retention. The findings of this study contributed valuable knowledge to the disciplines of university retention, sense of belonging, and the design of intentional living-learning communities for freshman students at HBCUs. Thus, recommendations are made for HBCUs to engage in and develop Living Learning Communities (LLCs) in regard to retention measures, concentrating on personalized programming that promotes belonging, academic assistance, mentoring, and mental health.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Education|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Brent Dukhie, "Sense of Belonging: Impact of HBCU Living Learning Communities on University Retention" (2023). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI30693988.