What is Inclusive Teaching?

At Fisher, we define inclusive teaching as a self-reflective process of evaluating our own teaching practices with the goal of creating an equitable learning environment that supports all students.

Inclusive teaching is not achieved after attending one workshop or reading one book, but rather a thoughtful approach to teaching that is ever evolving through continuous experimentation and reflection. Small, incremental changes that incorporate inclusive teaching best practices have a big impact on student learning inside and outside of the classroom. 

Welcoming Classroom Environments

  • Take a growth mindset approach to teaching and learning to encourage your students to grow and develop as individuals with their own goals and ideas.
  • Use syllabi language that encourages all students and creates an initial course climate of support and success.
  • Ensure that course communication (emails, announcements, etc.) are positive, helpful, and responsive. This might include offering alternatives to written communication, such as providing audio versions of announcements.
  • Ask students to fill out a pre-course survey to learn about their identities and past academic experiences in order to create a classroom where all students and their experiences are valued.
  • Affirm student identities through the use of preferred names and pronouns wherever possible and encourage other students to do the same.
  • Give students multiple ways of contacting you (via an anonymous form, email, in-class, etc.) to allow students the opportunity to reach out anonymously and/or in a way that feels safe to them.

Establishing Clear Expectations

  • Work with students to create guidelines for your classroom community that address expectations for students, as well as expectations for the instructor/s.
  • Assign work aligned with real-life examples in your field of study that students can relate to.
  • Create assignment prompts with explicit expectations, objectives, and the reasoning behind the assignment.
  • Use rubrics with distinguishable criterion rows to ensure levels of success are clearly articulated to students prior to starting their work. 
  • Create opportunities for self-evaluation to encourage students to think critically about assignments and their own engagement with them.
  • Also consider peer and group evaluations where students can learn from one another while also developing their skills to critique and provide feedback.

Amplifying & Encouraging All Voices in the Classroom

  • Review class materials (textbooks, handouts, quiz questions, etc.) for representation of authentic, diverse voices.
  • Offer multiple methods for students to contact you (i.e. office hours, email, phone numbers, anonymous forms, etc.)
  • Create opportunities for student choice in their work whenever possible, often through topic selection or format in which they present their work to others. 
  • Adopt principles of Universal Design for Learning to proactively meet the varying needs of students.
  • Enable captions on videos make them accessible for students who may not be able to watch with audio.

Culturally Responsive Teaching

  • Be aware of the cultural backgrounds of your students and how your class topics and discussions may be perceived or affect students differently from different backgrounds.
  • Include the use of current events when it is relevant and appropriate to your class topic/s.
  • Make flexible due dates (within reason) to accommodate for religious holidays and observances.
  • Give students space to safely share their feelings i.e. setting time aside during class, providing your contact info, or using an anonymous form.
  • Know the campus contacts that might be able to help students who are struggling to process news/current events around them.


  • Start a teaching journal to record emotions, thoughts, feelings, and experiences each semester.
  • Establish formal and informal check-in points throughout the semester to collect feedback from students to inform future course decisions.
  • Engage in reflective conversations with colleagues or mentors to get an outsider’s point of view, which can inform ongoing professional growth and development as an inclusive educator.
  • Reach out to the DePeters Family Center for recommendations of books, articles, podcasts, and other resources, or to discuss inclusive teaching practices in a 1:1 consultation.

Opportunities to Learn About Inclusive Teaching at Fisher

The DePeters Family Center supports faculty and staff in their pursuit of inclusive teaching practices. The Center offers the following types of inclusive teaching workshops and events:

  • Workshop Series where a group of participants learn about the different areas of inclusive teaching and practices these skills in a safe environment
  • Book Clubs that bring together faculty from across disciplines to discuss and engage on key thematic elements of inclusive teaching
  • 1-1 consultations where instructors work with DePeters Family Center staff to implement customized strategies into their own courses

While there are many ways to incorporate inclusive practices into the classroom, these examples serve to show how small actions connect to the larger principles of inclusive teaching.