A Look at Empathy, University Belonging, and Intersectionality

How to Support a Diverse Student Body Amid the COVID-19 Crisis


  • Shantalea Johns Wayne State University, USA
  • Stephanie Hawkes Wayne State University, USA




COVID-19, student success


The present short essay discusses the impact COVID-19 has had on college students. As universities work to build supportive learning environments during these unprecedented times, it is important for practitioners to consider how mental health and student identity impact student success. The framework proposes that empathy, university belonging, and an intersectional approach to academic support can contribute to a student's mental health, identity, and emotional well-being as they transition back to academic life.


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Author Biographies

Shantalea Johns, Wayne State University, USA

Shantalea Johns, EdD, LMSW is the director of continuing and interprofessional education and a lecturer at Wayne State University School of Social Work in Detroit, MI.  Her major research interests lie in the area of neurobiology of trauma and the social determinant of poor mental health among urban African American youth from adolescence to early adulthood.  Email: shantalea@wayne.edu

Stephanie Hawkes , Wayne State University, USA

STEPHANIE HAWKES, EdD, is the Assistant Director for the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.  Her research interests lie in the area of postsecondary access, retention, and success of students from historically excluded populations.  Email: gd2711@wayne.edu


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How to Cite

Johns, S. ., & Stephanie Hawkes. (2021). A Look at Empathy, University Belonging, and Intersectionality: How to Support a Diverse Student Body Amid the COVID-19 Crisis. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 9(2), x-xiii. https://doi.org/10.32674/jise.v9i2.2407