Inclusive Teaching and Universal Design

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Teaching Resources

What is Diversity? 

Individual differences (e.g., personality, prior knowledge, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).

What is 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.

What is Equity? 

 Educational equity means that every student has access to the resources and educational rigor they need at the right moment in their education, across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, sexual orientation, family background, and/or family income.

What is Inclusive Excellence?

 “The collective responsibility to equitably engage all students in high quality, evidence-based educational experiences. An institution that commits to inclusive excellence intentionally designs experiences to accommodate differences in students’ aspirations, life circumstances, ways of engaging in learning and participating in college, and identities as learners and students.”

Witham, K., Malcom-Piqueux, L. E., Dowd, A. C., & Bensimon, E. M. (2015). America’s Unmet Promise: The Imperative for Equity in Higher Education. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

What is Inclusive Teaching?

 Inclusive teaching describes the range of approaches to teaching that consider the diverse needs and backgrounds of all students to create a learning environment where all students feel valued and where all students have equal access to learn.

The AACU (Association of American Colleges and Universities) calls for Inclusive Excellence, and this AACU paper provides an organization framework and other guidance for inclusive teaching across our institutions.

What is Universal Design for Learning?

  • UDL is a blueprint for designing goals, materials, and assessments from the beginning to meet the needs of all students, including students with diverse needs.  It includes three principles for curriculum design, using:
    • Multiple means of engagement (e.g., enhancing student engagement by providing choices)

    • Multiple means of expression (e.g., providing students with alternate ways to demonstrate their knowledge)

    • Multiple means of representation (e.g., using a variety of methods to present course content)

  • It is important because
    • Students enter college with a range of strengths and weaknesses that can be addressed through UDL strategies.
    • The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 recognizes UDL as a practice to help students succeed.
    • Higher Education institutions must provide accessible materials, and accessibility is included in UDL.

Teaching Resources

OTEI offers several courses and workshops featuring UDL and Inclusive Teaching approaches. 

The Learner-Centered Syllabus Template part one and part two is revised each year by OTEI, is built to be accessible and is oriented towards inclusion.  Access the templates on the "Clemson Teaching" page.

The Learning-Focused Assignment Guide helps you review, revise, and create assignments that are more inclusive and accessible. We offer the guide but also have a course on Assignment Design in Canvas.

Universal Design for Learning is a holistic approach to creating accessible, inclusive courses. To learn more about universal design for learning principles, join one of our workshops or our new Canvas course. 

Our Inclusive Teaching series is also new!  See our events and programs pages for these courses.

Want to add a Land Acknowledgement Statement to your syllabus?  A group of Clemon faculty and staff created one for use in classes and at events:

These external resources can also be helpful.

Links for large classes: 

 Links about diversity and inclusion in the classroom: 

Faculty Learning Community on Diversity

Thank you to the 2018-2019 Faculty Learning Community on Diversity for the bulk of the content on this page.