Blogs on Inclusive Teaching

CRLT Support for Remote Teaching
Mon, 06/22/2020 - 02:28pm

COVID-19 IllustrationU-M has now officially transitioned to entirely remote instruction, but we know that instructors’ process of figuring out how to navigate this enormous change will be ongoing. CRLT consultants are available to provide ideas, tools, and resources as you think through ways to shift your teaching methods and expectations -- and then rethink them as the trial and error process unfolds. We know that instructors will continue to navigate a series of pedagogical, technological, and social-emotional challenges in their teaching for the remainder of the term, and we’re committed to providing support for U-M’s teachers throughout. Following public health recommendations for, CRLT staff are primarily working and consulting remotely. But there are many ways you can get in touch with us to arrange a phone call, video meeting, email exchange, or online chat:

COVID-19 and Your Teaching
Wed, 04/01/2020 - 01:17am
COVID-19 Illustration

​​As the situation around the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to evolve, we know that many instructors are looking for resources to prepare for or respond to a range of teaching challenges that might emerge. Here are some topics to consider and resources to know about during this uncertain time: 

Helping Students Navigate Ramadan and Final Exams
Wed, 04/01/2020 - 01:15am

RamadanWhile final exams are a stressful time for all U-M students, in the Winter 2020 semester, Muslim students will face an additional set of challenges. This year, the Muslim holiday of Ramadan will fall during finals (the full holiday runs from April 23-May 23), and students observing the holiday will be fasting from dawn to sunset. For many students this entails maintaining concentration and energy for exams that might fall late in the afternoon after waking up before dawn to have an early meal; having to postpone breaking the fast until after taking a late exam; or losing sleep while studying late into the night after breaking the fast.

Teaching in Tumultuous Times
Wed, 04/01/2020 - 01:18am

Australia Bush Fire credit - Fredrick VanrenterghemWe wish we did not have so many occasions to provide guidance to instructors on teaching in tumultuous times. The campus community is beginning yet another new term amidst a range of distressing events:  from hate-based violence in the U.S. and around the world (including but certainly not limited to a series of anti-Semitic attacks in New York, a church shooting in Texas, and violence against Muslims in India), to environmental disasters in many parts of the world, to escalating conflict between the US and Iran. As we return from the break to the regular work of teaching and learning, many people in our community are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our nation and world. CRLT regularly re-posts the guidance below because it is important to remember that these emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in our intellectual community. 

Gender Inclusive Practices for Your Teaching
Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:52am

Screen capture image of Wolverine Access interface for designating pronouns University of Michigan students identify across a full spectrum of gender identities and gender expressions.  As instructors, how can we cultivate gender-inclusive teaching and learning environments -- that is, environments that invite the full participation of students of all genders and respond to the harmful impact of gender stereotyping and misgendering on student learning?  

Instructors in any discipline can promote gender inclusivity in their courses by trying out some or all of the strategies below. This list is not exhaustive and represents just some of the many intentional practices you might incorporate into your curriculum, policies, classroom facilitation, and interactions with students. 

Transparent Teaching: A Focus of This Year’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan Series
Tue, 03/17/2020 - 02:06pm

What does ‘transparency’ mean in a teaching-learning context, and why is it a key principle featured in many CRLT workshops and resources about inclusive teaching? image of campus with many different students walking At its simplest, transparency means clearly communicating with students about course expectations and norms. As outlined below, such transparency can lead to more equitable learning experiences. That’s why transparency is the focus for this year’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan May workshop series. (Registration available here; for more details about both transparency and the May series, read on.)

Teaching in the Wake of Hate Incidents
Thu, 02/27/2020 - 08:55am

We wish we did not have so many occasions to provide guidance to instructors on teaching in the wake of hate-based violence. As our campus processes the news coming out of New Zealand today, we offer this slight update of a blog from October.

In the wake of the massacre of worshippers at New Zealand mosques, many people in our communityPeople hold candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our world. These emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in intellectual community.

Teaching with Student Veterans in Mind
Thu, 05/07/2020 - 02:53pm

US flag in the Diag

*updated November 7, 2018

During U-M's Veterans Week, it's a good time to reflect on the needs of our students who have served in the military. Did you know that record numbers of veterans are enrolling in U.S. colleges and universities--and many of them are here on U-M's campuses? Since January 2014, the university's tuition policy has allowed students who have served in the military to qualify for in-state tuition. If you teach at U-M, odds are good you've had or will have student veterans in your classroom.

How might your awareness of veterans in the classroom make a difference in your teaching? The research on student veterans suggests several strategies and cautions for teaching inclusively with veterans in mind. Here are a few:

Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan series 2018: Engaging Undergraduates as Teaching-Learning Partners
Fri, 02/21/2020 - 10:27am

In recent years, several colleges and universities have begun to include students more actively in faculty professional development opportunities, often engaging students to consult with faculty about both course planning and implementation. In a recent book on Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching, Alison Cook-Sather, Catherine Bovill, and Peter Felten delineate a range of positive outcomes of such student-faculty partnerships to improve teaching and learning.  As these authors argue, “Students have insights into teaching and learning that can make [instructors’] practice more engaging, effective, and rigorous” (2014).

image of campus with many different students walking We’d add that student insights can likewise contribute to teaching practices that are more inclusive and equitable. Drawing upon their experience learning from a range of instructors and alongside a range of peers, student consultants can offer perspectives on several key inclusive teaching principles, including:  how effectively course materials convey an instructor’s values related to equity and inclusion; how transparent the materials are about student learning objectives and evaluation criteria; and how they support a sense of social belonging for a broad range of students, especially those that too-often are not represented in or acknowledged by curricula and course materials in a wide range of disciplines.

This year, as part of our 2018 Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan series (April 30 - May 4), CRLT will pilot two programs that include undergraduate student consultants as key partners for faculty who wish to think about course design in collaboration with students. These include:

Understanding "Nontraditional" Student Experiences in and out of U-M Classrooms
Thu, 01/23/2020 - 12:01pm

What do you know about the students in your classroom? How many of them are first generation? Who among them has served in the military? Which ones are in recovery for substance use? Who has children at home that they are responsible for? Are there other dimensions of your students' experiences that might fall outside of 'traditional' expectations for U-M students?

According to a recent focus group study conducted by U-M’s Center for the Education of Women, 92% of student respondents who identify as “nontraditional” identified multiple markers of nontraditional status and 38% percent of respondents described their nontraditional status as a combination of five or more identities or life experiences. While some of these statuses were linked to visible identity categories, many of them were based on experiences that are not readily legible (e.g., being a veteran or being a commuter). However, these nontraditional experiences play a key role in how students experience the university, both inside and beyond the classroom. So how can instructors better understand these experiences to leverage diversity in the classroom and create inclusive learning environments?