Developing your own Diversity & Inclusion Statement for your syllabus is a simple way to signal to students that you value the participation and contributions of those from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. You can use this statement to communicate your expectations for civil debate, critical thinking, and personal accountability. It is also a helpful reference point when responding to team conflicts, discussion “hot moments,” crisis, and student grievances. Depending on your goals, you might consider including language about personal challenges/health issues, preferred pronouns/names, or being a SafeZone Ally.
- Example of a Diversity & Inclusion Statement tailored to UC:
The University of Cincinnati embraces diversity and inclusion as core values that empower individuals to transform their lives and achieve their highest potential. The University of Cincinnati recognizes a very broad and inclusive concept of diversity that includes commonly recognized considerations such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability status, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, sexual identity, sexual orientation, religion, and regional or national origin. Going forward, we emphasize that UC’s concept of diversity will retain the capacity to grow with our understanding. Inclusion authentically brings traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making.
We are committed to creating and fostering a positive learning and working environment based on open communication, mutual respect, and inclusion. If there are aspects of the design, instruction, and/or experiences within this course that result in barriers to your inclusion, participation, or the accurate assessment of your achievement, please feel free to contact me.
Adapted from www.uc.edu/inclusion
Content that Represents Diverse Perspectives
If you have some control over the content (books, slides, images, articles, videos, etc.) used in your course, the following two questions can help you select a diverse collection and present it in an inclusive manner.
- Whose voices, perspectives, and scholarship are being represented?
- Strive to include multiple perspectives on a topic. Try to include materials that are written or created by people of different backgrounds and/or perspectives.
- How are the perspectives and experiences of various groups being represented?
- Include materials that address underrepresented groups' experiences in ways that do not trivialize or marginalize these groups' experiences. Be aware of and responsive to the portrayal of certain groups in course content.
Adapted from University of Michigan CRLT
Anonymous grading can reduce the effect of unconscious biases, which influences the way that we evaluate others. It also signals to students that they have been evaluated fairly, without reference to their background or personal characteristics. Student work can be graded anonymously by having students write their names on the back of their exam/assignment or by assigning a code to each student at the beginning of the semester. Blackboard, UC's Learning Management System, also has features that allow for anonymous grading.
In addition, using rubrics for assignment and assessments leads to more consistent evaluation. Sharing your rubrics with your students helps them understand your expectations and criteria for evaluation. If you choose, you can create and use rubrics within Blackboard.