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.