by Debie Lohe, Director, Reinert Center
As the academic year comes to a close, the Reinert Center team is wrapping up a year-long focus on inclusive teaching. Since August, we’ve hosted more than 10 events explicitly focused on different aspects of inclusive teaching, curated or created more than 40 web-based resources to promote inclusive teaching, and secured a Campus Dialogue Grant from Bringing Theory to Practice [LINK] to develop a set of recommendations to advance inclusive teaching at SLU in the future.
Along the way, we’ve met with individuals and groups, read research on stereotype threat and the ways in which it can show up in the college classroom, and highlighted concrete practices instructors can enact to recognize and reduce barriers and minimize the potential for (accidental or intentional) exclusion.
Now that the year is coming to a close, we’ll let you in on a little secret: no matter what the Reinert Center’s theme is in any given year, we’re always focused on helping faculty and graduate students create inclusive classrooms. The fact is, evidence-based practices that create inclusion also result in learning. And the practices that lead to learning typically are inclusive. Whether or not we explicitly frame our work through the lens of inclusion, inclusive teaching is a goal. This year, we simply chose to make that commitment visible (and that, too, is an “inclusive practice”!).
As you head into the summer, we encourage you take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions. The answers you arrive at may help you more intentionally design and teach inclusive courses.
What kinds of students may have felt excluded in your classes this year?
What might you do next year to minimize the possibility of exclusion for these students?
What one change will you make in your next course to create a more inclusive learning environment?
If you need ideas for concrete strategies, consult our inclusive teaching web resources [LINK] or come and see someone in the Reinert Center. We’re around all summer and ready to help.