Curriculum Design for Inclusive Classrooms

Inclusive classrooms are about more than classroom environment and day-to-day pedagogy; they are also related to course content. Rather than "adding on" an example, it tends to be more effective to intentionally design a course with diversity and inclusion integrated and consistent with the student learning outcomes of the course.

As you consider course redesign, you can:

  • Investigate what leaders in your discipline/field are doing to infuse diversity into their curriculum. CATL has some general resources, but it is sensible for faculty to consult experts in their own field.
  • Collaborate with colleagues about useful resources, effective strategies, and significant/meaningful learning goals – perhaps aided by a CATL diversity infusion grant!
  • Think about course content in terms of topics to be covered, types of case studies, application of theories, evidence, and types of thinking you want to encourage.
  • Be intentional about the readings or class preparation materials you choose - where relevant, try to select texts, films, and other sources that were created by members of groups being discussed, not just about them.
  • Where possible, select readings whose language is inclusive and free of stereotypes.
  • Design courses that emphasize critical thinking.
  • Design courses that make connections to real-world situations and various types of people, not just the majority.
  • If it is suitable for your discipline, help students view concepts, events, themes from a variety of perspectives (whether that be by ideology, theory, groups of people, etc.).
  • Consider and share with students how recent scholarship – perhaps about gender, race, sexual identity, global perspectives, etc. – may have changed your field of study in recent years.
  • Discuss the contributions to your field of historically underrepresented groups.
  • Think about the many types of students you teach and how they might respond to and become engaged with the course content.
  • Think about the fact that students will be bringing different knowledge, experiences and skill levels to the course and how you might help those with less background in the field and challenge those with more background.
  • Consider how you will assess your course with your learning goals in mind.
  • Attend a CATL course design group or one of its regularly offered sessions on infusing diversity in the curriculum.
  • Check out some of the resources from Elon's Multicultural Faculty Fellow.