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Beyond Inclusive Practices and Teaching Tips

Mon May 2, 2022 at 07:30 AM

This teaching tip builds off of a June 2021 teaching tip, reflecting another year of struggle and trauma, but also a call to dedicate our precious time and energy to what really matters. 

At the end of year two of pandemic teaching, so many faculty, staff, and students are depleted. This state is making many of us question what is important and worth our precious energy. As the Great Resignation shows, we are reclaiming our time and reframing our work. It is a moment for reflection, contemplating where we go from here and how our labor can best contribute to meaningful change. One area of meaningful change persistent in the hearts of educators is social justice.

While we have not done nearly enough related to social justice in higher education and beyond, many faculty, staff and students continue to focus on how to make our institutions more equitable. Inclusive practices are general actions and behaviors that proactively encourage value and belonging and removes barriers that get in the way, focusing on marginalized groups. Arguably, “inclusive practices” is a term morphing into a buzz word, something we say so often that we wonder if it is getting diluted, perhaps a step up from “tolerance,” but still in the realm of feelings and small actions rather than structural changes. For this reason, University of Michigan’s Center for Research in Learning and Teaching has shifted toward “equity-focused teaching” with the intention to “disrupt systems of privilege and disadvantage, and acknowledge a shared responsibility amongst instructors and students for re-thinking and changing patterns of educational disenfranchisement.”  

This “teaching tip” does not attempt to achieve inclusivity and equity with a checklist. Instead, these are a few opportunities available that I hope will fit with whatever your interests and goals.


Reflection has the power of being both rejuvenating and idea-generating. Take stock of who you are, your perspectives and experiences, and opportunities you have to promote inclusion and interrupt inequitable practices in your teaching, scholarship and other work. Recording these over time lays a foundation for any other work to come. Some reflection prompts are offered in a past teaching tip.

Take a structured, low-stress, longer-term learning experience.

We likely don’t need any more homework or projects, but we also likely love learning. Consider enrolling in a series of workshops or a course that structures high quality learning opportunities with a time commitment you can manage. Something more than a single workshop or webinar is what will help us process an idea over time and help us implement real changes to practice. Only a few of many good possibilities are included below, and many more are in our Inclusive Practices Teaching Resources

Choose a focus to explore

You might want to take a deeper dive into a specific focus related to inclusive practices and equity-based teaching. Some of our teaching resource collections touch on these topics, offering learning materials in a variety of media and encouraging you to adapt the collection to your needs. 

As I offer these ideas, I encourage taking this work at a sustainable pace with the long term in mind. As you listen, read, discuss, and process these materials, I hope you will identify ways to channel your current expertise, labor, and resources to help all students and faculty thrive.

Save and adapt a Google Doc version of this teaching tip.

Written by Christina Moore, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University. Photo by Olga Safronova on Unsplash. Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NCView all CETL Weekly Teaching Tips. Follow these and more on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.