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Principle 4: Inclusive Content and Pedagogy 

Principle 4: Inclusive Content and Pedagogy 

Deliver course content that actively integrates, interrogates, and seriously engages with the diversity of perspectives and experiences that a scholarly, responsible treatment of the subject demands. 

Summary and Rationale 

Develop and teach courses through inclusion of content from multiple perspectives, considering diversity in all its forms, as understanding differing experiences is critical for all students’ deep learning. Therefore instructors are encouraged to select content to support, facilitate, and interrogate barriers to inclusion.

Knowledge experts from across disciplines have discovered critical gaps in their disciplines’ advancement and understanding based on conscious or unconscious exclusion of diverse experiences and perspectives, and therefore in both research and teaching it is incumbent upon instructors to actively counter disciplinary and other habits of bias through systematic evaluation of course content and pedagogy for diversity: in viewpoints, population focus, as well as author identity.

Use the course as an opportunity to prompt and nurture students’ and instructors’ moral and political awakening. Find ways to use the disciplinary content, research methods, and applied practices to recognize, challenge, disrupt, and reconstruct injustices at local, national, and global levels. 


  • Embrace and make visible inclusive course design as a valuable opportunity to interrogate historical consciousness and our assumptions about various peoples and ideologies.
  • In introducing content, acknowledge systemic inequities–and the power and privilege that attend them in our disciplines, workforce, and global society–and use intentional course design to make visible and address these inequities.
  • Practice culturally responsive teaching (CRT) to cultivate awareness of the identities and dynamics that shape educational experiences and impact learning, provide efficacious and responsive accommodations for equitable and optimal learning and assessment, and effectively leverage diversity in the course environment.
  • Audit course content for 1) diversity and inclusion of authors and creators, noting gaps and areas of concentration (i.e. race, gender, sexuality, etc.) and 2) diversity and inclusiveness of topics, examples, and experiences selected. Remain open to changing texts and voices highlighted.
  • Critically evaluate texts for assumptions, stereotyping, and missing perspectives and bring these elements to students’ attention. Highlight contributions made by diverse voices made to the field to further facilitate inclusion. Avoid marginalizing non-dominant voices by highlighting and discussing homogeneity when it occurs.
  • Demonstrate how understanding diverse voices is essential for creating high quality, rigorous, and competitive academic programs that serve student needs and continue to elevate the institution’s reputation.
  • Avoid assuming familiarity with cultural references (for example, WASP or Lassie), understanding that few cultural references are widely shared, and assuming shared references undermines the confidence of those for whom the reference is unknown.



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  • Davis, Barbara Gross. Tools for Teaching. Second Edition. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
  • Eddy, Sarah L. & Kelly A. Hogan. Getting Under the Hood: How and for Whom Does Increasing Course Structure Work? CBE–Life Sciences Education, 13, 453-468, 2014.
  • Hockings, Christine. Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: A Synthesis of Research. York: Higher Education Academy, 2010.
  • Landrum, R. Eric and Maureen A. McCarthy (Eds.).Teaching Ethically: Challenges and Opportunities, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2012.
  • Lee, Amy, Robert Poch, Marta Shaw, and Rhiannon Williams. Engaging Diversity in Undergraduate Classrooms: A Pedagogy for Developing Intercultural Competence. ASHE Higher Education Report 38, no. 2. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
  • “Online Equity Rubric.” Peralta Community College District Distance Education.
  • Sellers, Sherrill et al. Reaching All Students: A Resource for Teaching in STEM. Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), last modified 2007, accessed July 19, 2017. .pdf
  • Tobin,Thomas J. and Kirsten T. Behling. Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education.  Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2018.
  • Yancy, George and Maria del Guadalupe Davidson. Exploring Race in Predominantly White Classrooms: Scholars of Color Reflect. New York: Routledge, 2014.