This workshop examined the ways in which inclusive language and practices could help foster student success. Because DePaul boasts such a diverse student population, faculty must think about a wide-range of assumptions they make about their students and the different resources students may or may not have or be aware of. Perhaps the most important meeting point between instructor and student expectations is the syllabus, and we began by thinking about the syllabus as a metonym for a course itself. In this workshop, participants articulated and evaluated assumptions about their students that their courses might make, and identified aspects of course design that could benefit from inclusive language and strategies.
Through guided discussion of syllabi and examination of case studies, the workshop helped instructors think through different creative and compassionate ways in which they could be an advocate for their students’ best interests while also preserving the rigorous intellectual and academic demands of their courses. We hoped that faculty could test out ideas and ask difficult questions that wouldn’t produce immediate pre-formed answers. Rather, this workshop aspired to sustain existing conversations across the DePaul community, while at the same time providing practical results for faculty to incorporate into their pedagogy.
By the end of the session, participants were able to:
- Articulate the active-mindset needed to adopt inclusive language and practices in their syllabi in order to build a stronger classroom community
- Identify and evaluate assumptions they make about the students in their courses through peer discussion and analysis of syllabi
- Develop a revised set of course policies that incorporate the language and ideas of inclusivity and equity
- Use model case studies to show the ways in which resource-specific strategies will help them be an advocate for a diverse community of students at DePaul
- Identifying Assumptions in Course Materials
- Diversity & Inclusivity Resources