Evidence from higher-education research tells us that a sense of belonging to the university community supports student engagement, and increases academic performance and self-worth. However, this aspect of the student experience is not always given priority. In fact, ACER reported that in Australian schools, students’ sense of belonging has declined since 2003. The question that remains is, what can we do to enhance students’ sense of belonging and community within their overall education experience? In her role at UNSW Sydney, Rachel is developing the steps for educators to assist students to not only survive whilst at university, but to thrive. Rachel is able to share actionable insights supported by community development and positive psychology principles, blended with the latest academic research on student success and retention.
Rachel is a leadership development specialist who is committed to responsible, ethical leadership and social change. Her career has spanned the public sector from the front lines to the boardroom, and she understands how decisions made at the top can impact the entire organisation. Rachel is Delivery Lead for Student Communities at UNSW Sydney, where she also heads up the operations for the DVC Academic and is a graduate management school educator.