Belong: An Inclusive Learning Community

Belong: An Inclusive Learning Community

About Belong

​Belong is a network of CIC member colleges and universities designed in partnership with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). Together, Belong member institutions are making their campuses more welcoming and inclusive so that students feel a greater sense of 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.

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. 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. Find out more about the microcredential course dates.

  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. On-Demand Engagement Resources: Open access for all faculty and staff to proven practices through curated strategies on how to create an inclusive community that leads to higher satisfaction and student success. Resources in this toolkit—including instructional videos, resource guides, past expert webinars by leaders in the field, etc.—are available for use by all employees.

  4. Community of Practice: 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

​Belong has been designed to address a series of institutional needs.

  • For Presidents & Boards… demonstrable and effective action that is both broad and deep

  • For Faculty and Staff… researched and proven guidance on successfully engaging today’s students, and a nationally recognized microcredential for selected individuals

  • For HR… live campus-wide webinars that hundreds can attend, on-demand engagement toolkit with shareable best practices for retention and belonging, and communication templates

  • For VPs and Strategic Plans… the ability to operationalize strategic priorities on diversity and faculty and staff development at a low cost

  • For Chief Diversity Officers… a community of support, encouragement, and consultation

  • For Teaching and Learning Centers and Deans… access to faculty-designed and tested guidance that is already developed and ready for use

  • For the campus community… clear action on the value of inclusivity that aligns with campus values

  • And for students… a place where they know they belong

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.

Our shared vision

  1. Bring CIC members closer together to accelerate student success and equity
  2. Deepen members’ ability to meet the needs of all students
  3. Support faculty and staff with advanced skill development
  4. Showcase the leadership of private independent colleges
  5. Strengthen the education of 2+ million students over 5 years

Belong in Action

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

Although the Belong community is new, CIC will continue to support member campuses by providing Belong community offerings, including prepared promotional materials, social media pushes, and guidance on how to broadly share resources.

Sign Up Now for Inaugural Pricing

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

To celebrate the launch of the community and recruit leading institutions who will shape the future of Belong, CIC is offering an inaugural pricing package to the first 66 institutions—approximately 10 percent of CIC membership—who join Belong in this early phase.

< 1,000 enrollment$7,500($2,000)$5,500
1,000–3,000 enrollment$7,500($1,500)$6,000
> 3,000 enrollment$7,500($1,000)$6,500

*By undergraduate FTE

In addition, the inaugural pricing package includes the ability to claim one place for the institution’s president or a designated cabinet member in CIC’s delegation to the 2023 ASU+GSV Summit, a collaboration between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley, with registration and hotel fees fully covered (a $3,600+ value). For the first time, in 2023 CIC delegates will represent American’s independent colleges and universities at this national leadership event in San Diego.
To join, complete this simple online application.

Registration is open for Belong with community offerings fully launching in February 2023. Membership runs annually from time of registration (with registrations received by January 31 beginning active membership on February 1, 2023). Early adopters who sign-up in Fall 2023 are ensured access to Spring 2023 credentialling opportunities and will have more lead time to invite faculty and staff to live webinars in the spring.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

​What are the membership details?

Membership is exclusive to CIC members. Institutions may sign up at any time, with membership valid for one year. The community launches in February 2023, and members renew annually on their anniversary date.

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.

Where can I find more information about the credentials and courses?

Find out more on the credential page.

Contact Information

​For questions about joining the Belong community, contact Matt Trainum, CIC vice president of networks and strategic partnerships, at

For questions about staff and faculty credentialing (including registering individuals for certification or expanding credentialing options for your campus), contact Bacari Brown, ACUE partnership director, at