Belong: An Inclusive Learning Community

About Belong

The Belong Community is a national network of CIC member colleges and universities dedicated to making their campuses more welcoming and inclusive. Designed in partnership with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), Belong offers a suite of professional development resources for faculty and staff to support student belonging in class and campus-wide.

Belong works in concert with your campus’s distinctive mission and values, equipping faculty and staff with evidence-based skills and knowledge that increase student belonging and advance campus retention efforts.

Top Reasons CIC Members Value Belong

1. It’s Easy:

Packaged resources ready to share make for a light lift for campuses.

2. It’s Affordable:

Belong costs less than other professional development options and national groups.

3. It’s Effective:

Belong offers support for DEI leaders, engagement for faculty and staff, and 90%+ satisfaction with credentials.

Four Foundations of the Belong Community

Belong is designed as both a broad and deep response to today’s challenges, providing individual-level support and institution-wide reach. Members of the Belong community gain access to nationally recognized credentials, live webinars for all employees, on-demand engagement resources, and a community of practice. Details on these key benefits:

  1. Nationally Recognized Credentials: Credentials for up to six faculty or staff annually in “Fostering a Culture of Belonging,” ACUE’s nationally recognized course on issues of bias, microaggressions, and inclusivity. Find out more about the microcredential course. Additionally, take advantage of exclusive CIC Belong member pricing on a wide range of ACUE credentials in effective teaching shown to increase student achievement and retention, deepen learning, and close equity gaps.
  2. Cornerstone Webinars: Unlimited access for all faculty and staff to attend live quarterly webinars that address issues of inclusivity and belonging, and recommend practical approaches that can be implemented right away.
  3. Push Library: One-of-a-kind, sharable, curated resources are shared with campus leaders twice a month to make facilitating professional development discussion with faculty and staff easy and consistent. Our curated resources includes instructional videos, sample surveys, implementation guides, articles, past expert webinars by leaders in the field, etc.—are available to share with all employees.
  4. Community of Practice: Following the example of NetVUE, online opportunities for shared learning and networking on DEI issues and best practices for campus leaders. Participating institutions will also receive a membership badge for their website and a marketing toolkit to communicate their support for success for all students.

Advancing Solutions across Campus and the Nation

  • 65+ Institutions from across the country
  • 366 credentials in inclusive pedagogy earned
  • 1,800 faculty and staff signed up for the first two webinars
  • 10,000 faculty and staff who have access to Belong’s Push Library
  • 108,000 students who benefit from the community

Belong works alongside other campus actions (such as campus culture assessments) and national efforts (such as those by USC Race & Equity Center, NADOHE, and others), while providing actionable skills and knowledge for the community.

How Does Belong Work?

Like other CIC communities (NetVUE, TEP, OCSC), Belong services are facilitated by a campus lead on each campus and CIC staff, in partnership with colleagues at ACUE. The Belong Campus Lead will serve as the point of contact for community services, helping connect campus with the resources and opportunities provided through Belong.

Belong can be led by any office on campus and sponsored by presidents, chief academic officers, chief diversity officers, chief human resource officers, or chief student affairs officers.

In addition to the four foundational offerings listed above, CIC supports member campuses by providing Belong background support, including prepared promotional materials, social media pushes, and guidance on how to broadly share resources.

Download a summary PDF for use in campus conversations on Belong.

Sign Up to Belong

​The annual institutional fee for membership in the Belong community is $7,500.

Membership runs annually from time of registration.

To join, complete this simple online application.

Join fellow CIC institutions as we advance student belonging and improve retention efforts by empowering faculty and staff across campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Belong membership cost?

​The annual institutional fee for membership in the Belong community is $7,500. Membership runs annually from time of registration. Funding for Belong can come from a variety of offices on campus, funding from boards, and even granting bodies.

How can I share this with my campus team?

Download a summary PDF for use in campus conversations on Belong. The Belong team is happy to meet with you individually OR with campus representatives to discuss the network; sign up for time to speak with CIC staff here!

What are the membership details?

Membership is exclusive to CIC members. Institutions may sign up at any time, with membership valid for one year.

Who makes a good campus lead?

The Belong campus lead can be an administrator, faculty member, or staff member and can come from any office on campus. This person is normally a senior campus leader (assistant dean, director level or higher) with the ability to share programming and resources with all of campus.

When do I get access?/What happens after I register?

Invoices are now being sent within two weeks of completion of the online application. Once your invoice is fulfilled, you will be contacted by Sabrina Sturgeon, CIC project coordinator – inclusive excellence, who will give you access to the online community and get you up to speed with incoming community of practice meetings and webinars.

Can I credential more than six people? And where can I find more information about the credentials and courses?

Belong membership includes six individual certifications annually. Find out more on the credential page. Additionally, many institutions will pursue additional credentialing in effective and equity-promoting teaching strategies across all modalities through ACUE, now offered at exclusive CIC Belong member rates. For more information about this, please contact Jen McAllister, ACUE director of program management, at jmcallister@acue.org.

How can I best utilize the webinars and push resource library?

Campuses can select various passive to active engagement levels with these resources. For instance, some campuses might select one topic monthly and provide focused resources to the community. Some campuses may plan lunch-and-learns and small group conversations utilizing the resources. Campus leads have full access to the resource library and are welcome to share out any resources with campus faculty and staff. While some campuses might plan large staff and faculty gatherings around the webinars to reinforce the learning, others may share the invite for those interested and available to attend. All faculty and staff are welcome to attend quarterly webinars.

Who is currently in the Belong community?

Click here for a comprehensive list of who is an active member in the Belong communty.


Contact Information

For questions about joining the Belong community, contact Sabrina Sturgeon, Project Coordinator – Inclusive Excellence, at ssturgeon@cic.edu.

For questions about staff and faculty credentialing (including registering individuals for certification or expanding credentialing options for your campus), contact Jen McAllister, ACUE director of program management, at jmcallister@acue.org.

“We signed up because we wanted to be in a collaborative space to grapple with how to help students belong through a DEI lens. In our short time, we have found tremendous value and opportunities to support professional development for all employees. The team at CIC has made it easy to send communication, share ideas, and created a collaborative space where we are already seeing new ideas and learning happen on campus.” 

  Heather Black, Vice President for Student Success, Buena Vista University