The Value of an Inclusive Classroom & Campus

October is just a few days away, and we should reflect on how we are meeting/exceeding Goal 4 of Iowa State University’s Strategic Plan,

“Continue to enhance and cultivate the ISU Experience where faculty, staff, students, and visitors are safe and feel welcomed, supported, included, and valued by the university and each other.”

To contribute to this goal, CELT hosts a series of training opportunities to help guide faculty and staff (who have a teaching role) on the most effective methods for teaching inclusively and welcoming a diverse classroom. These inclusive programs include Inclusive Classroom Faculty Development Workshop (Monthly) and Conversation on Teaching Inclusively (Monthly). CELT also provides a variety of resources available via CELT’s Creating an Inclusive Classroom webpage with essential downloadable files:

Additionally, we are all encouraged to participate in ISU’s Campus Climate Survey — an evaluation of personal experiences and perceptions of the attitudes, behaviors and practices of campus community members. The survey results will help the university move the strategic plan goals forward, and provide a basis for developing policies and initiatives to address concerns and enhance the campus climate. The survey link will be live October 3-31, 2017.

Finally, we hope that consider attending Campus Conversations IV: A Conversation about Current Events, Police Response and Hate Crimes (hosted by Iowa State University Police, The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, and the University Library) on October 3 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in 198 Parks Library. This program will explore recent events and actions clearly fueled by hate to highlight the variety of responses even if an incident does not rise to the level of a criminal charge or a hate crime enhancement; as well as, inform and empower attendees to utilize the legal system and university resources as tools to combat the hate fueled speech.

Each of these opportunities will help strengthen our community and demonstrate to our students the value of an inclusive community. Thus, supporting Iowa State’s mission to “Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.”

See you there,

Sara Marcketti, Interim Director
Center for Excellence in Learning Teaching

View the published Teaching Tip: The Value of an Inclusive Classroom & Campus (September 28, 2017 – Constant Contact) website.


Promoting ISU’s Principles of Community in Your Syllabus

CELT has developed syllabus resources via the How to Create an Effective Syllabus website. Since 2016, CELT continues to develop the Mindful and Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist (PDF). This checklist provides an extensive list of student-centered resources, a guide for promoting an inclusive campus, and the recommended statements. The recommended syllabus statements developed to communicate a uniform message to all students about university policies that impact their experience at ISU, on the Recommended Iowa State University Syllabus Statements website.

The most recent addition to the Mindful and Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist (PDF) is a statement for instructors to consider including in syllabi about ISU’s Principles of Community:

“Students are responsible for living the tenets established in ISU’s Principles of Community: Respect, Purpose, Cooperation, Richness of Diversity, Freedom from discrimination, and the Honest and respectful expression of ideas. Visit ISU’s Principles of Community website (http://www.diversity.iastate.edu/principles-of-community).”

This statement will not only promote Iowa State’s strategic plan; it will reinforce diversity and inclusion and teach and demonstrate our Principles of Community.

Originally published in CELT’s Teaching Tip (August 17, 2017)


For additional ways on promoting inclusion, view CELT’s Creating an Inclusive Classroom website.


Inclusive Classroom Faculty Development Workshops (Summer 2017)

Today’s university classrooms are more diverse than in the past. With this diversity of students comes the need to ensure the learning environments associated with courses are inclusive and designed to support all students. This faculty workshop includes pre-workshop online learning modules and an interactive face-to-face workshop focused on creating an inclusive classroom environment. To learn more about inclusive classrooms visit CELT’s Creating an Inclusive Classroom website.

Overall Workshop Objectives

After participating in the pre-workshop learning modules and the face-to-face program, faculty and staff will:

  1. Identify discipline-based and course specific improvements to foster inclusive excellence in the classroom.
  2. Develop an individual action plan for promoting inclusion in the classroom.
  3. Become familiar with the campus resources and programs that support diversity and inclusion.

Pre-workshop Learning Modules

By engaging in the pre-workshop learning modules, participants will:

  1. Learn about teaching inclusively and why it is important at Iowa State University.
  2. Identify their own attitudes towards inclusion, acknowledge how it impacts teaching, and develop strategies to be more inclusive.
  3. Enhance self-awareness and instructional skills that may contribute to our inclusive campus environment.

Modules will be available at least one week prior to the workshop and will be instrumental to our face-to-face program; therefore, we ask that you complete the modules prior to the event.

Summer 2017 Inclusive Classroom Offerings

Faculty and staff (who have a teaching role) may choose to attend one of the following program offerings this summer:

Register for one of the summer Inclusive Classroom workshops via the Learn@ISU website (http://learn.iastate.edu) or call CELT 515-294-5357


Workshop teaches classroom inclusivity

Inclusivity. It’s a bit of a buzzword on college campuses these days. But at Iowa State, university administrators are walking the talk — developing programs that take inclusivity from ideas to action.

Last fall, under the direction of senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) began creating a faculty workshop that focuses on inclusivity in the classroom. The class debuted earlier this semester and will continue monthly through April 2017. The next workshop is Nov. 9 (1:10-4 p.m., 2030 Morrill). Register in advance at Learn@ISU.

During the single, three-hour session, instructors learn how to:

  • Teach inclusively and why it’s important at Iowa State
  • Identify their personal attitudes toward inclusion, acknowledge how those attitudes impact teaching and develop strategies to become more inclusive
  • Enhance their self-awareness and instructional skills to contribute to an inclusive campus environment
  • Become familiar with the university’s student support resources

CELT will offer the workshop annually with separate training for new and continuing faculty members.

“The workshops are helping to build a standard of classroom inclusivity for faculty, helping them understand why it’s important to Iowa State and to student learning,” said Ann Marie VanDerZanden, CELT director and co-facilitator of the workshop.

Workshop prep

Prior to attending the workshop, faculty are required to complete four online modules to prepare for class discussions. Access to the modules is provided following registration for the workshop. The modules are:

  • ISU policies relevant to inclusion
  • Exploring your inclusive teaching persona
  • Developing a mindful syllabus and course design
  • Defining microaggressions and how they impact learning

“These changes can help students become more engaged in the classroom,” said Laura Bestler, CELT program director and co-facilitator of the workshop. “It’s a great opportunity for students to become better than they already are.”

Resources for writing syllabi and designing courses with an eye toward inclusivity are available on the CELT website for all instructors, whether or not they have completed the workshop.

Post-workshop opportunities

VanDerZanden and Bestler encourage workshop participants to attend a monthly discussion group, “Coffee and Crucial Conversations,” to continue the dialogue about teaching inclusivity on campus. The 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. discussions aim to help instructors create a stronger teaching community, create collaborative partnerships and develop effective teaching practices to meet the diverse needs of students. Visit Learn@ISU to view a schedule and register in advance.

VanDerZanden suggests departments continue – or begin – conversations about inclusive classrooms in staff or unit meetings.

“It’s important to have a conversation with your colleagues, if for no other reason than to be aware of your own internal biases and how classes can change to be inclusive for all students,” she said.

A definition

in·clu·siv·i·ty (noun): The active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity — in the curriculum, co-curriculum and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect — in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions. – Association of American Colleges and Universities

Originally posted October 27, 2016 in Inside Iowa State. Retrieved from Inside Iowa State website


Faculty workshop focuses on an inclusive classroom

CELT is offering a 3-hour faculty workshop on classroom environments that are inclusive and support all students. It will be offered two more times this fall semester (Nov. 9 and Dec. 1) and five times during spring semester (Jan.5, Jan. 27, Feb. 22, Mar. 28, and Apr. 20). Faculty participants complete online learning modules in the week prior to the face-to-face workshop. Register online via Learn@ISU.

Inclusive Classroom Faculty Development Workshop

Today’s university classrooms are more diverse than in the past. With this diversity of students comes the need to ensure the learning environments associated with courses are inclusive and designed to support all students. This faculty workshop includes pre-workshop online learning modules and an interactive face-to-face workshop focused on creating an inclusive classroom environment. Pre-workshop learning modules will be available at least one week prior to the workshop and should be completed prior to the start of the face-to-face program. By participating in this workshop faculty will:

  • Learn about teaching inclusively and why it is important at Iowa State University
  • Identify their own attitudes towards inclusion, acknowledge how it impacts teaching, and develop strategies to be more inclusive
  • Enhance self-awareness and instructional skills that may contribute to our inclusive campus environment
  • Become familiar with student support resources at Iowa State University

Prerequisite: Faculty may choose to attend one of the following program offerings by registering via Learn@ISU website:

Fall 2016

  • Wednesday, Nov. 9, 1:10 – 4:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall
  • Thursday, Dec. 1, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall

Spring 2017

  • Thursday, Jan. 5, 1:10 – 4:00 p.m., 198 Parks Library
  • Friday, Jan. 27, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2:10 – 5:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2:10 – 5:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall
  • Thursday, April 20, 2:10 – 5:00 p.m., 2030 Morrill Hall

Inclusive Classrooms Benefit All Learners

University classrooms are more diverse today than ever before. With this diversity of students comes the need to ensure the learning environments we create in our courses and in the classrooms are inclusive and designed to support all students. We need to acknowledge and accept students with perspectives other than our own, to diversify our syllabi, to be more aware of classroom dynamics, and to pay more attention to how our students are experiencing the learning process.

Incorporating inclusiveness into our teaching requires a purposeful approach. In speaking to other faculty about this topic I’ve heard a common theme of “I’m not sure where to start”. CELT’s Inclusive Classroom Workshop is a great place to start. In spring 2016 CELT led an Inclusive Classroom Task Force of undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty with expertise in diversity and inclusion issues. The task force was charged with designing a faculty development program that includes online learning modules and a face-to-face workshop. Task force members provided guidance in creating an inclusive classroom framework titled Strategies to Create an Inclusive Course (PDF), and also a Mindful and Learner-Centered Syllabus Checklist (PDF). Their input also shaped the content of the online learning modules and the workshop. The workshop is scheduled monthly throughout this academic year and the upcoming dates are below. Please visit CELT’s Creating and Inclusive Classroom website for additional resources.

We can all play a role in creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for our students.

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching


CELT’s New Website- Same Great Resources but Easier to Use

If you’ve been to our website  recently you’ve likely noticed our new design and layout. Over the past eight months we’ve worked with a ‘user experience’ (UX) expert to help us reimagine the CELT website. As part of that redesign, we pared down the content to represent the current work we are focused on and to streamline resources we know receive a lot of traffic on the site. There are four main categories; Events & Registration, Teaching, Faculty, and Graduate Students and Post Docs.

The teaching section is by far the largest section and has been significantly refined and reorganized. Within this section we’ve grouped content relative to broad themes of what we do when we teach and these subsections include: Creating an Inclusive Classroom; Effective Teaching Practices; Teaching Format; Facilitating Learning with Technology; Blackboard Best Practices; Preparing To Teach; and Assessment and Evaluation. We still provide pedagogical support for Blackboard (through the website and in person) but the technical support for Blackboard, including online resources, was moved to the ITS Solution Center in August 2015.

The faculty section includes subsections on Documenting Your Teaching; Programs; and Funding Opportunities. The Programs subsection includes information about the professional development programs CELT offers, one of which I would like to promote in this Teaching Tip- The SoTL Scholars Program. This yearlong program provides a framework and mentorship to help a faculty member complete a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research project. Sara Marcketti, CELT Associate Director for SoTL leads this program and guides participants through a series of activities all aimed toward a completed and publishable SoTL project. Information about the SoTL Scholars Program is available on the website and the deadline to apply is March 28, 2016.

We think we have the bugs worked out on the new website, but if you discover something we’ve missed please let me know! And, if you have other feedback about the new site you would like to share, please contact me (vanderza@iastate.edu).


Steps Toward Creating an Inclusive Classroom

Micromessages are small, subtle, often subconscious messages we send and receive in our communication with others in the form of a gesture, word choice, treatment, or even tone of voice. These messages can be either positive (micro-affirmations) or negative (micro-inequities). –National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity

Without awareness educators may inadvertently use micro-inequities to discourage underrepresented students (e.g. female and minority students) from engaging in a course, and ultimately in careers in that field. Although there is strong evidence this is a significant issue in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) it also occurs in other courses and disciplines as well.

So how do we create an inclusive classroom for ALL students at ISU? It may seem like a daunting task, particularly when as an instructor we might not even be aware of the negative micromessages we are sending. Through the direction of the Senior Vice President and Provost, CELT has convened an Inclusive Classroom Taskforce this semester. The taskforce is charged with developing a variety of resources including online materials and face-to-face professional development training to support faculty in creating an inclusive classroom. The taskforce includes undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty and staff from across campus with both expertise in inclusivity and diversity and an earnest desire to make Iowa State an exceptional learning environment. To support this initiative CELT has reorganized some of our existing content on this topic and has added additional materials under the new Creating an Inclusive Classroom section on our website.

We’ll continue to communicate with campus as the Inclusive Classroom Taskforce moves forward.