Inclusive Teaching

US flag in the Diag

*updated November 7, 2018

During U-M's Veterans Week, it's a good time to reflect on the needs of our students who have served in the military. Did you know that record numbers of veterans are enrolling in U.S. colleges and universities--and many of them are here on U-M's campuses? Since January 2014, the university's tuition policy has allowed students who have served in the military to qualify for in-state tuition. If you teach at U-M, odds are good you've had or will have student veterans in your classroom.

How might your awareness of veterans in the classroom make a difference in your teaching? The research on student veterans suggests several strategies and cautions for teaching inclusively with veterans in mind. Here are a few: Read more »

shadow

We are teaching in tumultuous times. In the wake of a week that saw a massacre of Jewish worshipers at a synagogue, a grocery-store shooting of African-American shoppers after an intended attack upon a church congregation, and a series of pipe bombs aimed at the media and political figures, many people in our communityPeople hold candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our nation and neighborhoods. These emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in intellectual community.

Read more »

shadow

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 »

shadow

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 »

shadow