Building Inclusion in the Global Classroom

March 10, 2017 / By: Center for Faculty Development

The February 24 Global Classroom workshop facilitated by Xiaowen Guan (COJO), Jon Stoltz (Philosophy) and Lori Friedman (Office of International Students & Scholars) brought together faculty from across St. Thomas to exchange strategies and ideas for building an inclusive global classroom.

Global Classroom Faculty Panel
Catherine Cory (History)
Mariana Hernandez Crespo Gonstead (Law)
Robert Kahn (Law)
Olga Lopukhova (Mathematics)
Wesley Lummus (History)
Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman (Engineering)
Kate Zittlow Rogness (COJO)

Seven faculty panelists shared ideas for creating small groups/teams and ways to encourage U.S. students to step out of their comfort zone and friendship circles and really get to know their classmates. Simple strategies included being intentional about forming small groups or teams (rather than allowing students to form their own groups) and to periodically rotate group members to give students a chance to work with different classmates.

Discussion also covered cultural differences regarding academic integrity, critical thinking and plagiarism, and citing sources when conducting research or completing homework. Lori Friedman advises faculty that, "Many students come from countries where they are taught to spit back what the experts--professors-- tell them. They're not used to paraphrasing to citing their sources when preparing research papers.” Faculty can point students to resources on the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) web site that can help students become more knowledgeable about Western guidelines and best practices for citing sources and preventing plagiarism.


Faculty voiced concern about the recent White House travel affecting international students and what they can do to not only support the students who may be affected but to support all of the international students at St. Thomas. Lori Friedman offers the following advice for the St. Thomas community:

“In the changing world and political climate, many international students on campus are concerned about their travel plans and if they are welcome here on campus.  Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to reach out to others, engage in dialogue and show our international students that they are welcome here.  The more faculty can engage international students in the classroom and with other domestic students, the more all students can learn how the global world affects each person individually and more connections can be made.”

Faculty Resources

Additional resources for faculty to help build an inclusive global classroom include the multicultural resource calendar (see below), a quick tips guide developed by OISS covering the classroom, facts about our international students, professional development opportunities and immigration tips, and inclusive excellence resources on the Faculty Development web site. In addition, the January 31, 2017 Inside Higher Ed, 10 Ways to Support Students Facing Immigration Crises, offers practical advice for faculty and administrators on supporting students. And if you haven’t yet had an international student in your class, watch this 20 minute video of some of our international students and get their perspective on what it’s like to be a student at St. Thomas.

Multicultural Resource CalendarUniversity of St. Thomas multicultural calendar.

The University of St. Thomas has recently adopted a Multicultural Resource Calendar, which includes entries for over 140 different countries such as birthday, cultural/historical events, days of religious observance, public holidays, and events. The calendar is available to the entire St. Thomas community. Use the calendar to consider dates when scheduling classes, assignments, tests, deadlines, meetings, and events. More information about the calendar is available on the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, including an option to download it to your St. Thomas Outlook calendar.