Inclusive Classrooms

What is an inclusive classroom?

In inclusive classrooms, all students feel supported to learn and explore ideas, safe to express their views in a civil manner, and respected as individuals and members of groups; they view themselves as people who “belong” in a community of learners. Inclusive classrooms support rigorous academic work and deep learning by all students.

“In an inclusive classroom, instructors attempt to be responsive to students on both an individual and a cultural level. …Inclusive classrooms are places in which thoughtfulness, mutual respect, and academic excellence are valued and promoted,” write Saunders and Kardia in Creating Inclusive College Classrooms.

How can we make our classrooms more inclusive?

To foster inclusiveness, an AAC&U Diversity Digest article suggests we need to think about what we teach and how we teach, and we need to know our students and know ourselves.

  • What we teach can involve incorporating critical thinking, multiple perspectives, and/or discussion of real-world implications of knowledge and theories into course content in terms of ideas, topics, readings, etc.

For ideas, see the Curriculum design page.

  • How we teach can involve incorporating inclusivity as related to pedagogy in terms of day-to-day teaching strategies and classroom environment and also approaches to learning assessment. For more on pedagogy, see:

Knowing our students and knowing ourselves (individually and as members of scholarly communities) can lead us to effective, authentic, research-based teaching and learning.

Learning More

Do you wonder why you should be concerned, what Elon faculty members are doing, or where you can learn more? Then explore the "quick links" on the right.

*NEW* - Strategies suggested by Elon faculty at a conversation about teaching about Ferguson, race, and identity.

The purpose of this website is to provide resources to faculty members about inclusive classrooms. It is an evolving site and suggestions are appreciated.

Do you have information to contribute? Contact Mary Jo Festle at