Inclusive Teaching in STEM Disciplines

Checklist for Inclusive Teaching in STEM Disciplines

Principles Examples

Accurate Problem Definition

Clearly identify goals, rationales, starting conditions, appropriate design, and principles of implementation to achieve optimal learning outcomes.

Identify goals in terms of what is important for students to be able to do in the course, and explicitly articulate to students why that information is important.
Consider and communicate to students the ways in which learners achieve mastery in your discipline.
Eliminate inconsistency among learning goals, content, activities, and evaluation –for ex., identifying problem-solving procedures as goals but creating exams that focus on recall of detailed facts.
Establish students’ prior knowledge and skills coming into a course. Identify resources for filling in gaps in knowledge and skills that are identified.

Provision of Redundant Systems

Recognize that an effective system is designed to monitor and respond to feedback, adapt to changing conditions, and provide alternate strategies when systems do not function or other obstacles are encountered.

Frequently assess student learning and progress. Respond to needs for review or additional support for students as indicated by assessment data.
Design learning experiences based on the nature of learning goals and processes – that is, not based just on how you've previously taught or learned the material.
Provide support for learning of skills and processes – for ex., addressing not only what a research team should produce, but also how a team works effectively.
Involve student peers and mentors to provide models of effective learning strategies, encouragement, and guidance without giving answers.

Expert Practice

Establish that your design and approach to teaching support effective learning of course content for all students.

Explicitly state and demonstrate that teaching practices are not biased to favor particular learners, but are designed to support effective learning for all students.
Include academically rigorous (non-remedial), cooperative (non-competitive), and student-led group projects in course.
Make statements about challenges and what you have done to learn successfully.
Provide students with feedback that is task specific and not a general confirmation of ability – for ex., tell a student that her thinking demonstrates a clear understanding of a given concept rather than responding with general statements like “good”.

Management of External Constraints

Anticipate and minimize or compensate for ways in which teaching and learning processes and outcomes are influenced by environmental factors and other external constraints.

Account for factors that may only be indirectly related to teaching practices, but which affect students’ performance – for ex., students’ prior learning experiences.
Monitor dynamics among students – for ex., group interactions and responsibilities of group members; students’ responses to fellow students comments, questions, or answers given in class.
Provide positive advising and mentoring opportunities for students to encourage professional development.


Maintain thoroughness and rigor of what is taught, grounded in actual (rather than idealized) conditions.

Consider and help students explore the ethical and social relevance of course content to the professional or scientific community.
Invite women and scholars of color as guest lecturers, or former students of color as peer mentors and/or exam proctors
Draw attention to the history and development of the discipline and the diverse community of professionals and scholars that have contributed

Based on Reddick, L., Jacobson, W., Linse, A. & Yong, D. (in press). An Inclusive Teaching Agenda for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. 
In M. Ouellett (Ed.), Teaching Inclusively: Diversity and Faculty Development. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.