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