How do we welcome diversity, create fairness, and ensure our leaning environments engage and achieve the best outcomes for all students, not just a few? As Georgia Tech faculty consider how their course content can incorporate diverse voices and experiences, they are also adopting teaching practices that set the stage for students of all backgrounds to know that they belong and can contribute.
- What do you do to create an inclusive environment?
- How do you facilitate discussion around issues of inclusivity and equity in your classroom?
- How do students know that they “belong” in your course?
Danielle Willkens, Architecture
We examine work by an array of authors and designers to get different perspectives.
We provide time and space for discussions and acknowledge that students may be more comfortable interfacing with issues through certain platforms, so opportunities for discussion happen in-person, online, through assignment submissions, and anonymous feedback through an open Qualtrics form.
To foster a student’s sense of belonging in the class, student voices are foregrounded.
William Todd, Scheller College of Business
Each semester and in each course, I select a case study for us to analyze in which a woman is the principal with the dilemma. When the case describes a success within the organization there is always a discussion about the obstacles she had to overcome to reach her position and succeed in it. When the case describes a failure or disappointing results, it elicits lively discussion about the barriers that the woman executive had to overcome. One of the most inspiring features a female nurse who rises to the level of CEO in a hospital, succeeding a physician and a financial guru who both failed. Since my classes are predominately filled with women I can see the pride on the faces of the students who are hopefully inspired.
Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi, Building Construction
I have noticed that when it comes to forming teams, most students of the same background join each other and the teams are not diverse. I encourage the students to consider choosing team members of different ethnicity and educational background.
Sal Barone, Mathematics
I treat students with respect and convey my expectation for students to behave inclusively, and do not allow students to act discriminatorily towards other students, the TAs, or anyone else in or outside the classroom.
If a student brings up something which I consider not in line with inclusivity, I talk with them about the importance of being more open to experiences that they may not be very familiar with.
I am very intent to try to learn all the student names in my classes and even practice outside of the classroom so that the student knows that I care about pronouncing their name correctly.
Kirk Bowman, International Affairs
I teach a course on soccer & global politics each year and include videos, readings, and discussions on identity and implicit bias. Students can easily see how we subconsciously categorize people by gender, country of origen, sexuality, and other subconscious or conscious patterns. This helps us understand that we all suffer from cognitive implicit bias.
Josephine Yu, Mathematics
I have students work in instructor-assigned groups, starting from the first day of classes. If the groups are to be (semi)-permanent, then I try to ensure that nobody is the only one of their race/gender in their group. I am intentional about designing group activities and tasks that will facilitate discussions and collaboration. The students’ voices are valued in my class. When a student asks a question or makes a comment, I thank them and refer to the question/comment using the student’s name. I address each question/comment respectfully, no matter how small. Students are encouraged to use technology (Piazza, MS Teams, Discord,…) to connect with other students and form study groups. I remind the students about office hours every day and encourage them to come to office hours. After exams I reach out to some students individually to help them do better.