Faculty Resource Network

An academic partnership devoted to faculty development. Now in our fourth decade, we remain committed to this partnership, and to fostering connection, collaboration, and collegiality among our members.

2017 National Symposium Special Session

Engaging With Diversity in the College Classroom

Ritz-Carlton New Orleans Hotel
Friday, November 17
9:30-11:30 a.m.

Topics/Questions for Small Groups

1. Responding to Changing Demographics:

  1. How are student demographics changing at your institution?
  2. What do these changes mean for teaching methodology and other classroom practices at your institution?
  3. How are academically vulnerable populations identified and supported at your institution?
  4. How can our classroom practices anticipate the changing student populations of the future?
  5. What role does technology play in engaging a changing student population? How does it help or hinder student learning?
  6. Does technology increase access to education? Or reify privilege?


2. Discussing Diversity in the Classroom:

  1. How can we facilitate productive discussions of diversity in the classroom? How do we encourage and sustain participation?
  2. What challenges and opportunities can emerge from such discussions? How do we negotiate and build on these challenges and opportunities?
  3. Issues, events, and news stories that shape the national conversation about diversity may dramatically affect our students. Should we, as teachers, address such matters in the classroom? Even if they do not relate directly to our subject?
  4. In general, how do we make room for discussions of diversity when the topic does not seem to fit the semester schedule or relate to course content?
  5. How do we help students “process” a heated classroom exchange?
  6. How should teachers respond to inflammatory classroom rhetoric?
  7. How can we facilitate online discussions on diversity?


3. Diversifying the Curriculum:

  1. To what extent do our curricula reflect diversity?
  2. How can we ensure our curricula engage a diverse student population?
  3. What methods of instruction best engage a diverse range of students? How can these practices be incorporated into a variety of learning contexts and classroom formats?
  4. How do we help faculty diversify curricula across disciplines?
  5. How do we develop connections between topics of diversity and course content in disciplines where such connections may not be obvious?
  6. What can we do to ensure that faculty members are prepared to engage with diversity from the standpoint of teaching and learning?


4. Ensuring Classroom Inclusiveness:

  1. What is an “inclusive classroom”? How does inclusion relate to student learning? What teaching methods support inclusion?
  2. How can faculty members create and sustain inclusive classrooms that encourage participation from all students?
  3. What factors undermine inclusion in the classroom? How can teachers address these factors?
  4. How do we identify and approach students who appear excluded in the classroom? How do we bring them in without setting them apart?
  5. What does an “inclusive classroom” look like online? How is it achieved?
  6. In what ways does technology support inclusion? In what ways may technology subvert it?


5. Connecting Faculty Development and Classroom Diversity:

  1. How do we support faculty to engage diversity in the classroom productively?
  2. How do we help faculty members from minority groups who must navigate student bias in the classroom?
  3. How do we address gender bias on course evaluations?
  4. How can the teaching methods that best support diversity and inclusion in the classroom be most effectively promoted across campus and across disciplines?
  5. What kind of institutional or departmental support is needed to help faculty effectively reach all students in the classroom, both online and off-line?