The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Model of College Success

The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Model is derived from three decades of published research in higher education, over 180 interviews conducted across several qualitative studies, and the findings of many quantitative analyses that examine the experiences and outcomes of diverse colleges students. It explains the ways in which campus environments shape the experiences and outcomes of diverse student populations in college.

The CECE model acknowledges that external influences (e.g., financial factors, employment, and family influences) and precollege inputs (e.g., academic preparation and academic dispositions at the time of entry) shape college success (e.g., learning, satisfaction, persistence, and degree completion) (Figure 1). However, the focal point of the CECE model emphasizes that college students’ access to culturally engaging campus environments is positively correlated with individual influences (e.g., sense of belonging, academic self-efficacy, motivation, expectation or intent to persist, and performance) on success and an increased probability of succeeding in college. The CECE model posits that undergraduates’ access to culturally engaging campus environments is directly and indirectly (via sense of belonging, academic self-efficacy, motivation, expectation or intent to persist, and performance) related to a greater likelihood of persistence (Figure 2).

Figure 1

Focal Point of the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments

The degree to which culturally engaging campus environments exist at postsecondary institutions is both directly and indirectly (through their impact on sense of belonging, academic dispositions, and academic performance) associated with success among their diverse student populations.

Figure 2

In sum, the CECE Model suggests that the greater the extent to which institutions foster and maintain culturally engaging campus environments, the more likely their environments will allow their diverse student populations to thrive in college.

Note: The figures and text for this page were adapted from Museus, S. D. (2014). The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Model: A new theory of college success among racially diverse student populations. In M. B. Paulsen (Ed.), Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. New York: Springer.

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Questions about the project? Contact us at: cece@indiana.edu