DEIB in teaching and mentoring

Infusing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) into teaching and mentoring is a skill all faculty can continue to build throughout their careers.

As a faculty member, you can attend workshops, watch videos, or read up on inclusive classroom practices. Some great campus resources include the Center for Teaching and Learning, a Guide to Integrating Well-being in the Classroom from University Health Services, the “Inclusive Classrooms” series offered through the Division of Equity & Inclusion, and the Teaching in Troubled Times series co-hosted by the American Cultures Center and the Division of Equity & Inclusion. Other resources beyond campus are available to search on the OFEW Professional Development for Inclusion webpage.

Below are examples of practices that promote DEIB, which you can consider implementing in your own teaching and mentoring activities.

Inclusive curriculum: ensuring that course content sends a message of inclusion

  1. Affirming support for inclusion in your syllabus. You can include a statement about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. You can include a supportive statement about disability accommodations. Sample language can be found on this section of the OFEW website

  2. Commiting to making materials accessible You can ensure that your syllabus and other class materials are accessible to all. The Accessible Syllabus website is a very helpful resource.

  3. Considering a variety of perspectives. You can select a diverse set of readings and examples to discuss and critique. You can recognize that the perspectives of Black, Indigenousand people of color (BIPOC), gender-diverse, and otherwise underrepresented scholars can differ from those from dominant groups. You can consider how those perspectives can be reflected in course materials and think about the implicit messages that your choices of readings and examples may convey. 

  4. Using care in selecting illustrative examples/case studies. Many classes give examples or case studies to make theories concrete. In selecting such examples, you can give consideration to whether they may unintentionally perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Evoking such stereotypes can make students feel self-conscious or othered. You can consider selecting examples that challenge stereotypes.

  5. Raising awareness where appropriate. You can discuss the representativeness (or lack thereof) of the leading voices in your field of study. You can provide context for the range of scholars and voices in the readings you discuss or assign. 

Inclusive classrooms and pedagogy: creating inclusive and welcoming teaching environments for all, including underrepresented students

  1. Diversifying your teaching methods. You can deploy a range of teaching methods (lecture, other verbal methods, visuals, group work) to accommodate different learning skills. When you give verbal instructions in class, you can add a written follow-up; this can help students with specific learning disabilities as well as non-native English speakers.

  2. Choosing assessment modalities. You can develop modes of assessment that are equitable and robust to variation in student circumstances (e.g., remote participation, access to technology).

  3. Practicing “discretion elimination” in grading. Psychologists who study bias have shown that when decisions are made with discretion, they often result in unintended disparities (see Mason 2020). When evaluation criteria are pre-determined, transparent and consistently applied, they are less likely to produce disparities. (Grading rubrics of this kind also save work and trouble for your GSIs!)

  4. Modeling and reinforcing respectful interactions The Center for Teaching and Learning has collected a number of tips for you to consider in encouraging both critical thinking and respectful dialogue in the classroom.

  5. Educating yourself about impact. Good intentions do not always translate to good impact. You can learn about how and why nontraditional or minoritized students sometimes feel alienated by things their professors and peers have said, and continue to say, in class, and about the impact this has on them. Many opportunities for gaining practical insights can be found here: Professional Development for Inclusion | Office for Faculty Equity & Welfare

  6. Considering methods of instruction that are equitable and promote inclusion. For example:

    1. You can commit to addressing all students by the names and pronouns they use. You can stay current with best practices by consulting resources such as this UCOP site or this Berkeley site can be helpful. The Gender Equity Resource Center has a helpful discussion on this site about lived names and pronouns; it explains how to check and change names in the system and reminds instructors that deliberate, consistent misgendering is a potential violation of university policy. 

    2. Making timed exams less difficult than homework problems is something you can do in order to ensure students have the time to demonstrate the skills that the homework assignments developed.

    3. Using anonymous grading methods, if possible, can promote equity. For example, you can mask student names on a final exam or final essay and grade without the names but with neutral identifiers, keeping the list with student names and associated identifiers to look at after the grades have been assigned.

    4. Encouraging underrepresented students to participate in class while making sure not to expect that they speak for “their” communities.

    5. Assigning and using small groups strategically to create better learning opportunities and outcomes for all students (e.g., diversity of prior experience and preparation, interdisciplinary, focused on collaborative group problem solving).

    6. Encouraging the use of study groups for all students, and supporting students who are more isolated in finding study groups.

Inclusive mentoring and sponsorship: supporting the advancement and professional development of nontraditional or underrepresented students and postdocs

  1. Being open to co-authoring scholarly works with junior and/or underrepresented scholars, especially when such collaborations could help to advance their careers. 

  2. Promoting the work of promising BIPOC scholars and junior colleagues. Even if you don’t have a close mentoring relationship, such sponsorship can introduce new scholars to existing networks and help create professional opportunities for them. 

  3. Mentoring young faculty or postdocs from underrepresented groups if you are a senior scholar; “pair” with a junior colleague in your sub-field and commit to guiding them en route to tenure or to an academic job of their choice.

  4. Supervising undergraduate research discovery experiences.

  5. Actively recruiting students from underrepresented groups to work on your research as part of your lab or research group.

  6. Illuminating the “hidden syllabus.” As part of mentoring nontraditional or underrepresented students, postdocs, and junior colleagues, you can make visible the “hidden syllabus” of professional skills relevant to success in your discipline, including: 

    1. How to approach senior scholars for guidance

    2. Venues where it is most advantageous to publish or present work

    3. Expectations for participation in group-based or project-based work, including co-authorship

    4. How to conduct a good job interview