Category Archives: Faculty

Promoting Inclusion and Identity Safety to Support College Success

Public figures such as Michelle Obama and Sonia Sotomayor have spoken out from personal experience about the “identity threat” that underrepresented student groups can face when trying to fit in on their low-diversity college campuses.

A new TCF report sponsored by Pearson, “Promoting Inclusion and Identity Safety to Support College Success,” looks at how negative stereotypes and perceived bias can act as barriers to motivation and academic success for low-income, first-generation, and racial/ethnic minority students.

How can we maximize college outcomes and help underrepresented groups meet their full potential? The report’s authors, Mary Murphy and Mesmin Destin, say we need a renewed focus on studying and adapting the college environment itself, which often fails to promote a sense of inclusion, support, and identity safety for students from low-status groups.
“[At Princeton, I felt like] a visitor landing in an alien land. . . . I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school . . . not feeling completely a part of the worlds I inhabit.”


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Mary Murphy


Mary Murphy is an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University during the 2015–16 academic year.

Mesmin Destin


Mesmin Destin is an assistant professor at Northwestern University in the Department of Psychology and in the School of Education and Social Policy.