Inclusive Classroom Institute

What do we mean by “inclusive classroom”? In an inclusive classroom, the instructor –

  • Works to expand personal awareness of one’s own bias and its impact
  • Fosters critical awareness of multiple perspectives in class and elsewhere
  • Employs teaching methods that acknowledge the variety of student backgrounds and abilities
  • Nurtures mutual respect and supports empathic awareness of others’ experiences
  • Promotes equitable opportunities for academic success for all students
  • Works to develop skill in managing difficult conversations in class

How do our strategic goals support our work to develop and nurture inclusive classrooms? The “Embracing our Differences as One Human Family” strategic priority includes the following goal: To “actively develop our students’ capacity for engaging in and growing from a broad range of world views, values and life experiences, thereby realizing our mission to prepare them for the increasingly diverse world they will encounter after graduation.”

At St. Thomas, our mission, convictions, and strategic directions all support the goal of creating inclusive classrooms. To do so, we need to consider course content, pedagogical approaches, our own biases and classroom behaviors, and our knowledge of students’ backgrounds and skills. This workshop series offers opportunities to build awareness, gain understanding, and implement new pedagogical strategies to improve the learning climate for all students.

The Inclusive Classroom Certification: Faculty can earn an Inclusive Classroom Certificate by participating in a total of six workshops and completing the workshop's application activity. Workshop application activities are composed of a variety of hands-on and/or reflective exercises intended to deepen understanding and application of concepts discussed in the workshop. Examples of activities are below.

  • Creating an “Inclusive Excellence” syllabus statement
  • Design and carry out a discussion on a challenging topic; provide a written reflection on it
  • Design an activity to help international students get integrated more effectively in your course
  • Re-design two assignments in your course using Transparency principles
  • Practice responding to microaggressions as bystander or from the target’s perspective.
  • Create an accessible syllabus using universal design principles and relevant Word document formatting strategies