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Building Diversity and Inclusivity

The University of Kentucky is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive learning environment. This includes (but is not limited to) diversity in regards to race, class, sexuality, and disability. But how do we ensure that our classes and classrooms are in fact sensitive and supportive of diversity and reflect the values of inclusive learning?

The first step is to consider your course content. Are you reflecting a diverse set of perspectives and materials within the framework of your course parameters? Do your assignments encourage or even require an exploration of various viewpoints and perspectives? Have you included language on your syllabus that clearly articulates the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as your classroom policies that reflect that commitment?

This is an important consideration; the syllabus (and subsequent early-semester discussions around the issues) play can play a central role in setting the tone for the rest of the course. Emphasize in your syllabus the kinds of behavior you expect from the students in regards to class discussions, working groups, and their general approach to the materials in the class.

As you move through the class, make sure you are modeling best practices for your students; they will often need to learn these skills alongside the traditional course materials. Be a guide for students in terms of how they listen, how they react to something they disagree with, and be sure to create spaces where all students feel comfortable sharing and participating. This may includes finding alternate spaces and approaches, particularly online, to accommodate the various needs of the students.

In the CELT Library, we have a number of resources that can help you create a more diverse and inclusive learning experience for your students. The books we have include Teaching Diversity; Multicultural Curriculum; Becoming Multicultural; Culturally Responsive Teaching; and Multicultural Education, Transformative Knowledge, and Action.

Resources:
Office for Institutional Diversity at UK: http://www.uky.edu/Diversity/welcomes.html

Resources for Building an Inclusive Classroom: http://mep.berkeley.edu/classroom

A Model for Diverse Learning Environments (PDF): http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-007-2950-6_2#page-1

The Assumptions We Make About Diversity: http://www.nea.org/home/34691.htm

Creating Respect in a Diverse Classroom: http://www.higheredjobs.com/HigherEdCareers/interviews.cfm?ID=273

Making Excellence Inclusive: Higher Education’s LGBTQ Contexts:
http://www.diversityweb.org/DiversityDemocracy/vol15no1/about_issue.cfm

Diversity in Teaching and Learning: Affirming Students as Empowered Learners: http://www.aacu.org/diversitydemocracy/vol16no3/hurtado_alvarado.cfm

Incorporating Diversity: http://www.cte.cornell.edu/teaching-ideas/designing-your-course/incorpor...

The Need for Intercultural Competency Development in Classrooms: http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/50/11184572/1118457250-35.pdf