Why Be Concerned?

Because of what research tells us

Research from colleges and universities around the country shows that some students feel they don’t “belong,” aren’t included, or aren’t respected in classrooms. When students feel marginalized, it can have a negative impact on their learning. Abundant psychological research on stereotype threat, for example, demonstrates that students affected by it do not perform as well as they are capable of on a variety of intellectual tasks.

Fortunately, there’s also scholarship that suggests that relatively small actions by instructors can have a positive impact on their classroom climate and the feelings and performance of students. In other words, inclusiveness is not about helping students feel good about themselves; it is aimed at helping students learn and succeed in college.

Learn more about how to teach inclusively.

Because of Elon’s mission and values

Elon University is made up of many different kinds of people who all value community. Elon faculty members know their students and have respectful and caring interactions with them.

Often the students who have reported not feeling included on college campuses belong to historically disadvantaged or marginalized groups. Such marginalization is inconsistent with Elon’s mission to:

  • integrate learning across the disciplines and put knowledge into practice, thus preparing students to be global citizens and informed leaders motivated by concern for the common good, and
  • foster respect for human differences, passion for a life of learning, personal integrity, and an ethic of work and service.

Learn more about inclusion, diversity, and global engagement at Elon.

Because Elon faculty are careful and committed teachers

Most of the suggestions for inclusive pedagogy:

  • are very similar to techniques for engaged learning that Elon faculty are known for utilizing;
  • help all students, not just those from underrepresented or marginalized groups;
  • work in any discipline;
  • help faculty maintain and students reach high standards
  • are simply good teaching practices.


David C. Braskamp, Larry A. Braskamp and Chris R. Glass, “Belonging: The Gateway to Global Learning for All,” Liberal Education 101, no 3 (summer 2015).

Jayne E. Brownell and Lynn E. Swaner, “Outcomes of High-Impact Educational Practices: A Literature Review,” Diversity and Democracy 12, no. 2 (2009).

Darnell Cole, “Do Interracial Interactions Matter? An Examination of Student-Faculty Contact and Intellectual Self-Concept,” Journal of Higher Education 78:3 (2007) pp. 249-281.

Catherine Ross, “Shifting Faculty Thinking: Connecting Inclusion and Pedagogy,” presentation at AACU Diversity, Learning, and Student Success Conference, 2016

Claude Steele, Whistling Vivaldi; How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. Norton 2010.

Terrell L. Strayhorn. College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success for All Students. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Mary-Ann Winkelmes, “Transparency in Teaching: Faculty Share Data and Improve Students’ Learning,” Liberal Education 99, 2, Spring 2013.