Macalester faculty are deeply committed to being excellent, engaging, and effective teachers. Many of us are drawn to Macalester’s small liberal arts environment because of the high value placed on teaching and for the opportunity to connect with our students in small classes, studios, research labs, rehearsal, etc., as well as during office hours. We also serve as students’ academic advisors, and we take that role very seriously.
The Serie Center offers regular programming that supports faculty to become increasingly reflective about our pedagogical and advising practices, and to share what we are learning with one another.
There are extensive resources on campus to encourage faculty to extend their pedagogical and curricular practices through community engagement or the use of technology. For example, faculty who are interested in building a civic engagement component into their classes can work closely with the staff in the Civic Engagement Center. Support for and innovation related to technology use in the classroom is available from our Academic Information Associates. In addition, our Director of Writing offers resources and consultation related to writing pedagogy.
Toward Equitable and Inclusive Teaching
In collaboration with the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship, we are committed to supporting and increasing faculty capacity related to equitable and inclusive pedagogy. The Department of Multicultural Life offers workshops and other programs on campus focused on issues of identity and oppression.
The essays and toolkits listed below offer important perspectives about and resources for:
- making our classrooms more inclusive for all students
- addressing the alienation that students of color experience in predominantly white institutions
- helping first generation students navigate higher education’s hidden curriculum
- holding faculty accountable for culturally inclusive pedagogy and curricula
- facilitating discussions of power, identity, and privilege
We recognize that the work of building inclusive classrooms is different for faculty of color than it is for white faculty.
Elon University’s Inclusive Teaching website offers an excellent set of resources, and we have also developed a list of web-based resources related to equitable, inclusive, and critical pedagogy.
Student well-being and accommodating disability
Attention to student well being (as well as to our own well being) and accommodating disability are other important – and interrelated – dimensions of inclusive and equitable teaching. The Hamre Center for Health and Wellness has a resources page for supporting student well being.
Macalester’s Disability Services office will soon be launching a new website; in the meantime, here are some questions/suggestions that emerge from Universal Design for Learning* principles that you might consider as you plan your classes:
- What do you want to assess with an assignment? Is the assignment you’ve created actually assessing that, or are you inadvertently assessing something else? What do you want to know from students? Do your strategies for assessing knowledge align with what you want to know?
- Consider adding one more way to deliver information and/or to assess knowledge (e.g., assign texts that are also available as audiobooks; offer more than one format in which a student can submit a final assignment [e.g., as a written report or a video])
- Use Google Docs for Crowd-Sourced Notetaking (George Williams, Chronicle of Higher Ed)
If you have suggestions for readings or other material to add, please send it to Joan Ostrove at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based set of principles to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all; its goal is to create an inclusive and accessible learning experience for students. UDL builds flexibility into the educational context to accommodate different types of learners, and it is built on the assumption that any barrier to learning lies in the design of the environment and not the learner.