Belonging Matters: One School’s Strategy for Fostering Community and Confidence Among Students from Historically Excluded Groups

Freeman, Alexi & Carlson, Caley | November 20, 2023

For generations, law students from historically excluded and underrepresented groups—including but not limited to students of color, students with disabilities, gender diverse and gender non-conforming students, and students who identify as LGBTQIA+—have been expected to navigate their legal educations “successfully” despite the many challenges they encounter. This article describes Denver Law Ascent, a program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law that is designed to provide critical supports to such students and cultivate a sense of belonging early on as well as throughout students’ educational journeys. Drawing from evidence-based research and best practices, Denver Law Ascent is one school’s intentional approach to fostering belonging and preparing students for academic success.