At the University of Chicago, respect for diverse points of view is a core institutional value and a foundational element of teaching and learning. In the words of President Zimmer, “We have an obligation to see that the greatest variety of perspectives is brought to bear on the issues before us as scholars and citizens.” It is important that students understand how an instructor’s commitment to diverse perspectives supports an environment where rigorous inquiry is possible, respects the mutual exchange of ideas, and allows for the highest standard of learning and discovery.

Inclusive teaching actively and intentionally fosters an academic environment where all students feel valued, respected, and heard. When you address diversity in your syllabus, you begin the practice of inclusive teaching by setting expectations that invite and value different points of view generated collaboratively by students with various backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences. This shows students that you recognize how diverse perspectives can illuminate an object of scholarship, and lead to a rich intellectual climate. In many cases, it also indicates your understanding that a classroom environment must create the conditions for all students to reach their full potential academically.

You can demonstrate respect for diversity in your teaching in many ways. Some ways to do so include the following:

There are many ways to communicate how you value diversity to students. If you would like to discuss different options, please contact Cheryl Richardson (richardsonc@uchicago.edu), CCT Director for Inclusive Teaching Initiatives.

 

Resources:

Gündemir, S., Dovidio, J. F., Homan, A. C., & Dreu, C. K. (2016) The Impact of Organizational Diversity Policies on Minority Employees’ Leadership Self-Perceptions and Goals. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 24(2), 172-188.

Plaut, V. C., Thomas, K. M., & Goren, M. J. (2009) Is multiculturalism or color blindness better for minorities? Psychological Science, 20(4), 444-446

Steele, Claude. (2010) Whistling Vivaldi: and other clues to how stereotypes affect us. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.