Intercultural Learning & Embracing DEI

The following material is adapted from a presentation given by Dr. Milton Fuentes, Professor of Psychology, Montclair State University.

Embracing Diversity Science, Considering Pedagogical Practices, and Promoting Intercultural Learning

The materials on this page will help you:

  • Discuss equity, inclusion, and diversity (EDI) in the classroom and how they are interrelated.
  • Apply an EDI-centered approach to course development
  • Design an EDI-centered syllabus

Defining Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

  • Equity
    • “Equity refers not just to equal access, but to equal outcomes among all racial and ethnic student groups in institutions of higher education” (Washington, 2010; AAC&U)
    • “In contrast to “equality” or “identical instruction,” equity of teaching and outcomes requires that “individual needs are met and learning occurs” (Morris et al., 2011, 129).
  • Diversity
    • It’s about representation (Equity in the Center, 2018)
    • Race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, ability, and other identity factors
    • “expressed in numbers and percentages” (Equity in the Center, 2018)
    • Intersectionality
      • Giving simultaneous consideration to the interconnectedness of cultural dimensions, including identity, difference, and disadvantage (Cole, 2009).
      • “…refers to the interaction between gender, race, and other categories of difference in individual lives, social practices, institutional arrangements, and cultural ideologies and the outcomes of these interactions in terms of power’’ (Davis, 2008, p. 68).
  • Inclusion
    • “The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions” (AAC&U)

Pedagogy & Practice

“Equity pedagogy involves teaching strategies and classroom environments that help students from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural groups attain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes need to function effectively with a just, humane, and democratic society.” (Banks & Banks, 1995)

  • Reducing stereotype threat with values and affirmation activities (Steele, 2010; Steele, 2010)
    • What Matters to You…? activity (affirmation, values)
      • Name a value that matters to you and will inform your learning.
  • Five equity-minded practices for teaching online (Harris & Wood, 2020)
    • Be Intrusive (Proactive)
    • Be Relational
    • Be Culturally-relevant and Affirming
    • Be Community-Focused
    • Be Racially Conscious
  • Intercultural competence
    • “a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts.” (Bennett, 2008)
    Research and Science of Diversity Training (APA, 2020)
    Knowledge and Competence Value Rubric
  • Developing an EDI Mindset
    • Expand cultural consciousness
    • Start small (Small Teaching, Lang, 2016)
    • Controversial: reform vs. transform • Pursue ongoing training
    • Engage in self-study
    • Embrace cultural humility (Hook et. al., 2013)
  • Eight considerations


Resources and References

Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture. Equity in the Center, 2018. Retrieved from:

Bennett, J. M. 2008. Transformative training: Designing programs for culture learning. In Moodian, M. A. (ed.). Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Understanding and utilizing cultural diversity to build successful organizations, 95-110. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Cherry A. McGee Banks, & Banks, J. (1995). Equity Pedagogy: An Essential Component of Multicultural Education. Theory Into Practice, 34(3), 152-158. Retrieved June 29, 2021, from

Cole, E. R. (2009). Intersectionality and research in psychology. American Psychologist, 64(3), 170–180.

Davis, K. (2008). Intersectionality as buzzword: A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful. Feminist Theory, 9(1), 67–85.

Fuentes, M. A., Zelaya, D. G., & Madsen, J. W. (2020). Rethinking the course syllabus: Considerations for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. Teaching of Psychology. Rethinking Course Syllabus: EDI.

Harris, F. & Wood, J. L. (2020, March 27). Employing equity-minded and culturally-affirming teaching and learning practices in virtual learning communities [Webinar]. Cora Learning.

Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., Owen, J., Worthington Jr., E. L., & Utsey, S. O. (2013). Cultural humility: Measuring openness to culturally diverse clients. Journal of Counseling Psychology®. doi:10.1037/a0032595

Morris, S., Selmer, S., Martucci, A., White, W., and Goodykoontz, E. (2011) “Equity in Education: Practicing Educators’ Experiences and Perspectives.” in Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue. Flinders, D.J., and Uhrmache, B.P, eds. Information Age Pub. 13:1-2. 127-141.