Dr. Genia Bettencourt

Assistant Professor, Leadership Department

Ball Hall 123F
Office Hours
please email for appointment

About Genia Bettencourt

Dr. Bettencourt is an assistant professor of Higher and Adult Education in the Department of Leadership at the University of Memphis. Previously, she served as a postdoctoral research associate at the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California and the Center for Student Success Research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; a Master of Science in College Student Services Administration, and; Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, History, and Political Science from the University of California Davis. 

Dr. Bettencourt's research focuses on issues of access, equity, and student success in higher education, particularly as focused on issues of social class and classism. Findings from her research have been published in such venues as The Review of Higher Education, The Journal of Higher Education, and the Journal of College Student Development. Her research has been funded by organizations including the Susan T. Buffett Foundation, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and ACPA Foundation. 

A scholar-practitioner, Dr. Bettencourt previously held roles in student affairs across residential life, pre-college programs, and student leadership. She is an active member of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) College Student Educators International, Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). 


Doctor of Philosophy, Higher Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Graduate Certificate, Social Justice Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Master of Science, College Student Services Administration, Oregon State University

Bachelor of Arts, English, History, and Political Science, University of California Davis


Selected Publications 

Bettencourt, G. M. (2021). “I belong because it wasn't made for me”: Understanding working-class students’ sense of belonging on campus. The Journal of Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2021.1872288 

Bettencourt, G. M. (2020). “You can't be a class ally if you’re an upper-class person because you don't understand”: Working-class students’ definitions and perceptions of social class allyship. The Review of Higher Education, 44(2), 265-291. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2020.0041 

Bettencourt, G. M. (2020). “When I think about working-class, I think about people that work for what they have”: How working-class students engage in meaning-making about their social class identity. Journal of College Student Development, 61(2), 22-38. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2020.0015 

Bettencourt, G. M., Manly, C. A., Kimball, E., & Wells, R. S. (2020). STEM degree completion and first-generation college students. A cumulative disadvantage approach to the outcomes gap. Review of Higher Education, 43(3), 753-779. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2020.0006 

Bettencourt, G. M., Mansour, K. E., Hedayet, M., Feraud-King, P.T., Stephens, K.J., Tejada, M. M., & Kimball, E. (2020). Is first-gen an identity? How first-generation college students make meaning of institutional and familial constructs of self. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, & Practice. https://doi.org/10.1177/1521025120913302