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Center for Teaching and Learning

Inclusive teaching at UW

UW Seattle students walking through the quad.At the University of Washington inclusive teaching refers to pedagogical practices that support meaningful and accessible learning for students of all races, ethnicities, genders, socio-economic classes, sexualities, disability/ability statuses, religions, nationalities, ages, and military statuses. Teaching inclusively means leveraging the diverse strengths students and instructors bring to the learning environment, as well as recognizing how systems of power and privilege may play out in the classroom.

 

“This is our community — to truly fulfill our public promise of both access and excellence, we must make progress on diversity. Stereotypes and bias are in the air we breathe. They are part of our societal fabric. We’ve got to begin by not being part of the problem, or less a part of it. We can only do that by recognizing it and acknowledging that it resides in us. We can’t just will it or ignore it away — we have to become culturally aware and self-aware in order to make our campus community more inclusive and just.”

– Ana Mari Cauce, UW President, Leading Change in Public Higher Education

Myths about inclusive teaching

  • “I treat all students the same, therefore, I have an inclusive classroom”
  • “My classroom is inclusive because my students are demographically diverse including race, gender, age, etc.”
  • “I teach in the STEM fields so discussions of inclusion aren’t relevant to my courses.”

Inclusive teaching doesn’t occur automatically. It requires planning and promoting across a spectrum of teaching practices (from course design to assessment) with the aim of creating a learning environment that allows all students to engage, regardless of discipline and course content.


“In my opinion, inclusive teaching can exist when the instructor values both development of the heart and mind. In other words, there are methods of structuring inclusive education, but it can never be reduced to specific practices particularly if the heart — or desire — is not also present. Also, the opposite is true and inclusive education cannot exist when just a desire is there without a clear understanding of techniques to structure inclusive education and use pedagogical moves to foster inclusion.”

Jacob Hackett, doctoral student and instructor, UW College of Education

Cassady Glass Hastings, undergraduate instructor at the college of educationAs Hackett describes, inclusive teaching is most successful when evidence-based practices reflect an investment in student learning.

CTL’s resource pages on inclusive teaching contain evidence-based practices, strategies, and resources from instructors at the UW.

UW campus resources

For faculty and staff

For students