Inclusive Teaching

In recent years, several colleges and universities have begun to include students more actively in faculty professional development opportunities, often engaging students to consult with faculty about both course planning and implementation. In a recent book on Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching, Alison Cook-Sather, Catherine Bovill, and Peter Felten delineate a range of positive outcomes of such student-faculty partnerships to improve teaching and learning.  As these authors argue, “Students have insights into teaching and learning that can make [instructors’] practice more engaging, effective, and rigorous” (2014).

image of campus with many different students walking We’d add that student insights can likewise contribute to teaching practices that are more inclusive and equitable. Drawing upon their experience learning from a range of instructors and alongside a range of peers, student consultants can offer perspectives on several key inclusive teaching principles, including:  how effectively course materials convey an instructor’s values related to equity and inclusion; how transparent the materials are about student learning objectives and evaluation criteria; and how they support a sense of social belonging for a broad range of students, especially those that too-often are not represented in or acknowledged by curricula and course materials in a wide range of disciplines.

This year, as part of our 2018 Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan series (April 30 - May 4), CRLT will pilot two programs that include undergraduate student consultants as key partners for faculty who wish to think about course design in collaboration with students. These include: Read more »

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At all levels, from individual instructors to the upper administration, the University of Michigan has stated a commitment to inclusive teaching.  What does “inclusive teaching” mean at U-M? CRLT uses the following definition, which synthesizes a range of research related to teaching and learning as well as ideas collected in faculty focus groups:

Inclusive teaching involves deliberately cultivating a learning environment where all students are treated equitably, have equal access to learning, and feel valued and supported in their learning. Such teaching attends to social identities and seeks to change the ways systemic inequities shape dynamics in teaching-learning spaces, affect individuals’ experiences of those spaces, and influence course and curriculum design.

Some key aspects of this definition to note:  1. This definition is relevant in every discipline, whatever your content. 2. Inclusive teaching requires intentional practice over time. As one participant in a CRLT faculty workshop stated, “Teaching inclusively is a mindset. You can’t think about it once and be done.” 3. Inclusive teaching does not describe any particular pedagogical approach but names a foundational intention that shapes your approach, whether you are lecturing, leading discussion, holding office hours, or facilitating team-based learning. Read more »

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What do you know about the students in your classroom? How many of them are first generation? Who among them has served in the military? Which ones are in recovery for substance use? Who has children at home that they are responsible for? Are there other dimensions of your students' experiences that might fall outside of 'traditional' expectations for U-M students?

According to a recent focus group study conducted by U-M’s Center for the Education of Women, 92% of student respondents who identify as “nontraditional” identified multiple markers of nontraditional status and 38% percent of respondents described their nontraditional status as a combination of five or more identities or life experiences. While some of these statuses were linked to visible identity categories, many of them were based on experiences that are not readily legible (e.g., being a veteran or being a commuter). However, these nontraditional experiences play a key role in how students experience the university, both inside and beyond the classroom. So how can instructors better understand these experiences to leverage diversity in the classroom and create inclusive learning environments? Read more »

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Fall 2017

(New Fall 2018 Inclusive Teaching Site: http://crlt.umich.edu/crlt-support-diversity-inclusive-teaching

Through programs, consultations, and resources, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) helps cultivate teaching-learning environments where instructors and students of all identities and backgrounds can excel.

Programs: Fall 2017 Seminar Series

For more information and to register, click on the individual titles below. Read more »

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