Creating an Inclusive Classroom

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.

Diversity defined: 

Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations)  (American Association of Colleges & Universities).

Inclusion defined: 

The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity–in the curriculum, in the 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 (American Association of Colleges & Universities).

In these more diverse classrooms there is 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. Our collective ability to respond to, and be enriched by, these challenges will determine the success of both our students and our institution.

Through professional development programs, consultations, and resources, CELT supports faculty in creating learning environments where the social identities and diverse backgrounds of all students may thrive.

The following are selected from ISU resources that support creating an inclusive learning environment:

Building Inclusive Classrooms (CELT YouTube Playlist)

Diversity Course Development Initiative Program

Diversity Resources at ISU

Facilitating Critical Dialogues

Inclusive Learning Environment Strategies

Principles of Community

Universal Design for Learning Overview

Additional Resources:

“Campus Incivility” Guest Expert Webinar Series (National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity)

Diversity and Inclusion Webinars on Teaching (Women in Engineering ProActive Network)

Diversity Issues for the Instructor: Identifying Your Own Attitudes  (University of Michigan)

Facilitating Challenging Conversations in Your Classes  (University of Michigan)

Inclusive Teaching Resources and Strategies  (University of Michigan)

Making Excellence Inclusive (American Association of Colleges & Universities)

Reconsidering the Inclusion of Diversity in the Curriculum (Diversity & Democracy, Association of American Colleges and Universities)

Resources for Leveraging Diversity in the Classroom (University of California, Berkeley)

Teaching in Racially Diverse College Classrooms (Harvard University)