In light of the disruptions that have characterized the year, including a global pandemic, civil and political unrest, racial reckoning, and widespread shifts to remote teaching and learning, the need to widen our lens from inclusion to a more equity-focused view of teaching and learning has become all the more evident and urgent. At CRLT, we have found ourselves asking a range of questions to help us move toward more equitable practices, including ones aimed at reevaluating our framework for inclusive teaching. While inclusive teaching practices are important, they often don’t foreground larger systems of inequity (e.g., racism, classism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, nativism, etc.). Without explicit attention to the impact of systemic inequity, inclusion efforts can approach all forms of student difference as equal and often ignore the specific social and political conditions that shape our students’ experiences in the classroom differently. For example, instructors are frequently encouraged to include all students or all voices in the classroom, without also being asked to consider which voices have been persistently excluded or marginalized within and beyond the classroom.
An equity-focused perspective asks us to understand the ways in which our teaching practices contribute to disparities of opportunity, access, and outcomes experienced by marginalized and minoritized students. All the choices we make in our teaching, from course design to course policies, are opportunities to intentionally disrupt inequitable patterns of privilege and disadvantage that shape our students’ individual and collective experiences. If designed & performed with equity at the center, these actions can create more just and restorative learning experiences and outcomes.
To give instructors opportunities to reflect on their own commitments to equity in teaching and learning, and to think with others about best practices, CRLT has organized this May’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan series around the theme of equity-focused teaching. Some questions we will explore together over the week include: What patterns of inequity are common in your discipline? What are some practices you can use to avoid replicating patterns of inequity in your teaching? And, what do you, as an instructor, have to gain by making a commitment to equity-focused teaching? In its fifth year, this series of workshops is open to all U-M instructors. It offers opportunities to engage with colleagues from across the university and to think through a range of equity-focused teaching questions, challenges, and strategies. You are welcome to register for one or all of the workshops in the one-week series, which will feature sessions on equitable classroom practices, syllabus design, and assessment. This series of workshops will include opportunities to:
- View a new CRLT video highlighting equity-focused teaching practices and perspectives from U-M faculty across the university. (Available during the week of May 10th)
- Explore CRLT’s equity-focused research-based framework for inclusive teaching in Teaching for Equity and engage in a series of structured opportunities to reflect on and apply key equity-focused principles in your teaching.
- Learn how to create digital content and digital spaces that are more accessible to participants with disabilities and a range of access needs in Digital Accessibility for Teaching.
- Further your knowledge of anti-racist pedagogies by learning about and practicing methods to assess your current course design & facilitation practices in Applying Anti-Racist Pedagogies: Developing A Critical Reflective Practice.
- Reflect upon your use of discussion as a teaching tool in a range of learning environments and apply principles of transparency to support equitable classroom discussions.
- Engage with frameworks for learner-centered & equity-focused syllabus design that center and support student learning and experiences in the classroom.
- Think through how and why assessment is an important element of equity-focused work, from data collection to interpretation and reporting in Equity in Higher Education: What’s Assessment Got to do With It?
You can request a consultation focused on equity-focused teaching with a CRLT consultant by requesting an appointment online.