Strategies for Cultivating Inclusive Classrooms; Understanding Implicit Bias and Stereotype Threat; and STEM Outcomes at UCLA

If we want all students with ability to succeed in STEM courses, we need to consciously design learning environments in which every student is welcome to fully participate in learning.

Featured Resource: The CIRTL online course “Introduction to STEM Teaching” has developed a wonderful module on inclusive teaching, which CEILS highly recommends to faculty, instructors, and TAs as a wonderful introduction to what is really meant by “inclusive” teaching.  You can view this module here.

STEM Outcomes at UCLA: Building Inclusive Classrooms Report

Understanding “Inclusion” Within the UCLA Context

Before diving into learning about inclusive teaching practices and related concepts, please take a moment to read the executive summary of  Enhancing Student Success and Building Inclusive Classrooms at UCLA

This data-driven report summarizes issues with inequalities in outcomes of students at UCLA, and provides recommendations for addressing these discrepancies and improving successful outcomes for ALL students. Inclusive teaching practices are among the recommendations.

Strategies for Cultivating Inclusive Classrooms

Why should you make your classroom more inclusive?

Barriers to Success in the Diverse STEM Classroom

Here is a set of student survey questions to assess classroom climate and potential microaggressions. (Microaggressions are small, often unintentional, actions that target marginalized groups.)

NY Times Article: Why We Should Stop Grading on a Curve

The following resources provide several strategies to support faculty, instructors, and TAs to build inclusive classroom environments and support success for all students.

Database of Inclusivity Interventions and Studies

Have you ever been in a group discussion where one or two people dominated the conversation? How about a time when you wanted to share an idea, but were immediately interrupted? Ever witness someone saying something insensitive or innappropriate and not sure how to intervene? What about a time when the group discussion digressed so much that little was accomplished from the intended goal?

Most of us have had the above experiences, and for students these can be frequent experiences in classes that include group discussion and group work. At the same time, group collaboration and discussion skills are important skills for students (and instructors) to develop.

The strategy of setting ground rules for group discussion can be an effective technique for promoting an inclusive climate. Students may create their own grown rules or instructors may wish to provide them. Once developed and communicated, ground rules can be revisited at any time.

Sample ground rules:

  • Allow the speaker to complete their thought before making a comment (avoid interrupting).
  • Do not engage in texting or side conversations during group discussion.
  • Provide opportunities for individuals who have not yet spoken to offer their thoughts. 

View additional examples from the Center for Reasearch on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan

Silence in the classroom can feel uncomfortable for students and instructors alike, but processing information takes time. Waiting for several seconds after asking a question so that students, particularly introverted ones, are able to gather their thoughts before responding is proven to expand participation and improve the quality of student responses. In this video, Bob Kegan and Dan Levy discuss their strategies for using wait-time in the classroom, which Levy calls “one of the most underused weapons that an instructor has at his/her disposal.”

The American Association of Physics Teachers journal, The Physics Teacher, published a 2017 collection of papers on Race and Physics Teaching:

This includes papers such as “Teaching About Racial Equity in Introductory Physics Courses” and “Common Challenges Faced by Women of Color in Physics, and Actions Faculty Can Take to Minimize Those Challenges“.

Featured Resources from CEILS 2016 Event: Building Inclusive and Safe Classrooms in Light of Recent Election

Anna Yeakley, Director of the Intergroup Relations Program, Bruin Resource Center:
Creating a Safe and Engaging Classroom Climate
Comparison of Dialogue and Debate
– Bruin Resource Center:
Intergroup Relations Program (IGR): Aims to cultivate a campus environment that is inclusive and promotes a sense of belonging for the students, staff and faculty of UCLA; See also – Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation Training Class
     – Undocumented Student Program

Jonathan Feingold, Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, BruinX:
Lay Theories of Intelligence: Beliefs about whether Intelligence is Fixed or Malleable

CEILS Mid-Quarter Course Evaluation Template
Barriers to Success in the Diverse STEM Classroom
Course Checklist for Inclusive Teaching
Evidence-Based Inclusivity Interventions
NY Times Article: Why We Should Stop Grading on a Curve
8 Actions to Reduce Racism in the College Classroom

Resources for Students:

Students in Crisis: From the Office of the Dean of Students: Faculty and Staff 911 Guide for Students, commonly known as the “Red Folder.” This tool is intended to provide you with quick access to important resources for assisting students in need.

Counseling and Psychological Services | Wooden Center West: (310) 825-0768

Letters & Science Counseling Service | A316 Murphy Hall: (310) 825-1965

Academics in the Commons at Covel Commons: (310) 825-9315
Free workshops on a wide variety of issues relating to academic & personal success
​ (click on “academics”)

College Tutorials | Covel Commons: (310) 825-9315
Free tutoring for ESL/math & science/composition/and more!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center | Student Activities Center, B36: (310) 206-3628

Center for Accessible Education (Formerly Office for Students with Disabilities) | A255 Murphy Hall:(310) 825-1501, TDD (310) 206-6083

Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars |106 Bradley Hall: (310) 825-1681

Student Legal Services | A239 Murphy Hall: (310) 825-9894

Dean of Students Office | 1206 Murphy Hall: (310) 825-3871

Dream Resource Center​

United We Dream

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

Resources for Faculty, TAs, and Academic Staff

Processing the Election
● UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Teaching in Response to the Election
● Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University

Returning to the Classroom After the Election
● Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at the University of Michigan

Strategies to Address the Election in Class
● Resource for teachers

Responding to Incidents of Hate Speech
● Center for Research on Teaching and Learning at the University of Michigan

Establishing Ground Rules
● Key tool for supporting dialogue instead of debate

Facilitating Challenging Conversations in the Classroom
● Resource to help create safe and inclusive classrooms when teaching on the election

Recognize Your Implicit Biases (free online test)
● Harvard University

Unconscious Bias @ Work
● Training by Google

Understanding Implicit Bias and Stereotype Threat

Do you discriminate? In the following TedTalk, UCLA law professor Jerry Kang exposes the phenomenon of automatic processing and how it relates to explicit and implicit bias. Decades of research shows that attitudes and stereotypes influence how we see and behave. Despite our best efforts, are we all under the sway of “the rightness of whiteness?” And is there evidence showing that these biases can be reduced — at least temporarily? Using humor and audience participation, Kang challenges our assumptions while shifting our perceptions of at least one Asian male.

The UCLA Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has developed education materials on implicit bias and stereotype threat:

Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaborative network of researchers investigating implicit social cognition – thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. Project Implicit is the product of a team of scientists whose research produced new ways of understanding attitudes, stereotypes and other hidden biases that influence perception, judgment, and action.

Project Implicit translates that academic research into practical applications for addressing diversity, improving decision-making, and increasing the likelihood that practices are aligned with personal and organizational values.