Creating Inclusive Classrooms

The classroom has many opportunities to capitalize on the presence of the representational diversity both in our community and particularly with our teaching. The following resources suggest a number of actions to take to make our classrooms as healthy and as safe an environment possible for all student learners. These resources also include a number of suggestions for engaging with particular diversity topics.

The Classroom EnvironmentAn animation of students seated in a theater-style classroom with hands raised and light bulbs flashing above their heads.

The Diverse Classroom Environment

Instructor Self-Awareness

Dynamics in a Diverse Classroom

Sample Syllabus Inclusion Statement

Looking for something to place on your syllabus? Below are two paragraphs you may wish to consider using. The second paragraph is a basic statment, however the author10 of this sample suggests adding the first to address bullying as well.

Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and online and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. For example, words such as "stupid" and "dumb" have no place in describing another person's statement. Remember, disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. Class participation is included in the final grade.

In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Hot Topics: Engaging with Social Inequality and Current Topics in Class

Napa / Sonoma Fire

How Natural Disasters Discriminate curriculum from the ADL

Regarding the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017

Charlottesville Curriculum:

Southern Poverty Law Center:

Post-Presidential Election 2016

The Trump Syllabus

"Flipping" the Classroom

Making Classroom Groups Inclusive [pdf]1

"How 'Flipping' the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture" in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Flipping the Classroom Center for Teaching Vanderbelt University

Campus Resources

SJSU Center for Faculty Development

Other Websites of Interest:

The Zinn Education Project

The Zinn Education Project website offers free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and reading level. The Zinn Education Project is coordinated by two non-profit organizations, Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change. Its goal is to introduce students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of United States history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula.

SoJust: Primary Source History of Social Justice

SoJust is a collection of historic speeches, songs, poetry, and essays on human rights and social justice. It is a project of EdChange, a source of professional development, research, and resources for diversity, multiculturalism, and cultural competence.

Without Prejudice: Resources for Change

Resources for Change is a clearing-house for anti-discrimination education resources and is designed for educators and individuals committed to making positive change. It is a project of the Access to Media Education Society.

Media Education Foundation

The Media Education Foundation produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to inspire critical reflection on the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media. In addition to their films, MEF offers study guides, transcripts, and other materials that support the use of their films in the classroom and other venues.

Critical Multicultural Pavilion

Multicultural, Anti-bias, & Diversity Activities and Exercises

Diversity Activities for Youth and Adults (from Penn State University)

LGBT Classroom Resources for Faculty (from University of Minnesota)

Team Based Learning

Team-Based Learning (TBL) is an increasingly-popular form of small group learning. The four components of TBL are permanent teams, readiness assurance, application activities, and peer evaluation. TBL is possible even in large theater-style classrooms with fixed seats. TBL teachers report high levels of student attendance, preparation, participation and critical thinking. TBL students report being more motivated and enjoying class more, even when the subject is not in their major.

Diversifying Economic Quality Wiki

This wiki promotes best teaching practices in economics, particularly practices that encourage women, students of color, and members of other underrepresented groups to continue their study of economics. Here, economists can disseminate and discover prescriptions for improving our teaching and the inclusiveness of our discipline. The teaching strategies offered here are presented alongside evidence of their effectiveness and practical suggestions for implementation. The wiki also provides data describing patterns of participation in our profession and opportunities for thoughtful reflection on why inclusion and diversity are important to the future of economic theory and policymaking.


1 From UC Berkeley Office of Educational Development
2 From Harvard University's Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
3 From U of Michigan's Multicultural Teaching Services for Faculty and GSIs web page
4 From Virginia Commonwealth University's Center for Teaching Excellence web page
5 From UNC Chapel Hill's Center for Faculty Excellence web page
6 From U of Wisconsin Whitewater's LEARN Center web page
7 From U of Michigan's Center for Research on Learning and Teaching web page
8 From U of Northern Iowa's InTime Integrating New Technologies Into the Methods of Education web page9 From The Chronicle of Higher Education
10 From Greg Miraglia, Coordinator of the LGBT Studies Program at Napa Valley College
11 From UC Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning

12 From The Chronicle of Higher Education by Viji Sathy and Kelly A. Hogan