Diversity and Inclusion Syllabus Statements
Your syllabus is often the first introduction students have to you and your course and is an opportunity to set a positive tone for everything that follows. Including a diversity and inclusion statement can be an important signal of your commitment to supporting ALL of your students.
Such a statement does not have to be complicated or lengthy but should reflect your values, beliefs and commitments. Here are some questions to consider (adapted from Brown's Sheridan Center and Canegie Mellon's Eberly Center):
How do you, concretely, recognize and value diversity in your classroom? (For instance, do you have systems in place to ensure everyone's voice will be heard? Do you use a variety of examples to illustrate concepts? Do you have guidelines for respectful discussions?) What role does your respect for and engagement with diversity in the classroom play in your personal teaching philosophy?
How can diversity – as represented in your discipline, course content, and classroom – be an asset for learning? What positive learning outcomes can come from respecting difference in the classroom? How can you highlight these?
How might issues related to diversity arise in your course and classroom? And, how will you handle them (ideally) when they do? (For instance, does your discipline or course content explicitly or implicitly raise sensitive or controversial topics related to diversity and inclusion? How might students from different social and cultural backgrounds respond to disciplinary norms?)
What do you want your students to know about your expectations regarding creating and maintaining a classroom space where differences are respected and valued? What kind of classroom environment would your students like to see? How might you include them in the conversation about standards for classroom civility?
Is your statement inclusive of different types of diversity, including, but not limited to: race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, religion, and disability?
For examples of general statements and additional guidance, please see the links below. In addition, the accordions contain example language related to specific identities as well as some programs unique to SDSU.
- Brown University Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning
- Carnegie Mellon Eberly Center
- University of Wyoming LEARN
- CalPoly Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology
Keep in mind that while examples can provide a good starting point, it is important that diversity statements (perhaps more than other types of syllabus statements) are tailored to your own personality and style. Seeing the same boilerplate language on syllabi in multiple classes may lead students to question your authenticity.
NOTE: In Fall 2020, the University Senate also passed new policy that requires all syllabi to include the SDSU Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement (either the full or abbreviated version)
The Inclusive SDSU system is intended to document instances that promote our campus commitment to equity, inclusion and belonging, as well as those that fall short. If I (or others in this class) happen to fall short of our goals to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for you, I encourage you to use Inclusive SDSU to report such experiences and to receive the support you may need. Note that you can also use the Inclusive SDSU system to report positive incidents that you think should be celebrated!
My Gender Pronouns are ______________. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I am happy to address you by an alternate name and/or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.
Source: Saint Mary’s College of California, Intercultural Center http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/intercultural-center
My gender pronouns are ___. You will be asked to provide your own pronouns during introductions. Feel free to decline to state. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. Please advise me of this early in the semester if you use an alternate name and/or gender pronoun so that I may make appropriate changes to my records. Note that students enrolled at SDSU under their assigned or legal sex at birth may update their gender marker in the student records system to reflect their gender identity. Students should complete a Declaration of Gender Designation Change form and submit it in person to the Office of the Registrar. Gender markers can be updated to male, female or nonbinary.
We honor choices of name, gender and ethnic identity in this class. If you label anyone in ways that they reject, you will be kindly but firmly corrected.
Contributed by Tamara Collins-Parks, PhD., Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education
In this class we will be making extensive use of online spaces. Sometimes, the anonymity of such spaces can lead people to say or do things that they would not say or do in a face-to-face environment; online communications can also lose some of the nuance and tone that helps us convey meaning in person, leading to a higher potential for misinterpretation. I ask each of you to make sure that your online persona, including profile and background images, chat messages and discussion posts, exhibits the respect and kindness to others as I know you would want extended to you.