Inclusive Teaching Seminar

Conversations about inclusive teaching are increasingly more common on college campuses. Instructors are tasked with understanding and responding to issues of diversity in their classrooms and with articulating their own approach to teaching with an inclusive framework. How can instructors create classroom environments that set up all students for success? How can instructors help their students learn through the diversity of experiences and perspectives they bring to the classroom? Join a community of Columbia University graduate student instructors to reflect on your teaching experiences and commit to creating inclusive classroom environments that engage all students. For those enrolled in the Teaching Development Program (TDP), this seminar satisfies the Advanced Track seminar requirement.

This seminar last ran in Spring 2019. To be alerted when we run the Inclusive Teaching Seminar again, join the CTL mail list


Graduate students and postdocs…

  • who want to reflect on their inclusive teaching experiences and practices.
  • who want to engage with scholarship on inclusive teaching and apply it to their practice.
  • who are committed to creating inclusive classroom environments.

Program Description

This seminar introduces graduate student and postdoctoral instructors to key ideas in the field of inclusive teaching. In a cohort of peers, participants will engage in conversations around topics such as learning through diversity, growth mindset, microaggressions and implicit bias, trigger warnings, stereotype threat, and inclusive assessments. Through these conversations, a series of assignments, and peer feedback, participants will leave with concrete strategies for creating inclusive classroom environments that engage all students in the learning process.

In this seminar, participants will create an action plan for future teaching, submit a revised statement on inclusion, and participate in a five-minute lightning talk about their inclusive teaching practice. Participants who complete all requirements will receive a letter certifying successful completion of the seminar.

Program Goals

  • Develop a learning community for reflection with graduate students and postdocs
  • Create an inclusive environment where participants can explore and reflect on their positionalities and biases
  • Build confidence in participants’ ability to develop, share, and discuss their personal approaches to inclusive teaching

Learning Objectives

By the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Systematically reflect on inclusive teaching and learning
  • Apply concepts and ideas from the literature on inclusive teaching to practice
  • Provide and integrate peer feedback into their own inclusive teaching practice
  • Develop inclusive teaching strategies and articulate their approach to inclusive teaching


This seminar meets five times over the course of the semester, covering the following topics:

  1. Principles of Inclusive Teaching
  2. Engaging Diversity in the Classroom
  3. Teaching Difficult Texts and Topics
  4. Inclusive Grading and Assessments
  5. Applying Inclusive Teaching Strategies


Click on the toggles below to read the session descriptions.

Session 1: Principles of Inclusive Teaching

The seminar begins with an exploration of how instructors’ attitudes and biases impact the classroom environment. We will begin with an exercise that asks us to identify our own positionalities in the classroom, discuss how those positionalities impact our students’ learning, and engage in a larger conversation about what it means to reach all of our students in the learning process. This session asks participants to reflect on aspects of their course climate (either in a course they are currently teaching or have taught in the past) and introduces participants to the growth mindset framework as well as techniques for how to help students learn through diversity.

Session 2: Engaging Diversity in the Classroom

Having identified the elements of an inclusive classroom environment, participants will next explore what happens when this environment becomes disrupted, exclusionary, or offensive. Many instructors worry about how to manage microaggressions in the classroom, moments when students react to their peers and/or the course material in ways that derail the learning process. In this session, participants will discuss the impact of microaggressions on student learning by analyzing case studies that present challenges related to diversity in the classroom. Through these conversations, participants will develop concrete strategies for what to do in the moment, as well as what to do before and after these situations. These techniques will help instructors either prevent these types of interactions from taking place or to follow up on what transpired in the classroom to help students process what took place and reorient their learning process. By engaging with scholarship on facilitating dialogue in the classroom, participants will leave this session with a better understanding of how to manage heated moments in the classroom and how to establish expectations, guidelines, and classroom policies for their own classes.

Session 3: Teaching Difficult Texts and Topics

Building on our conversation about managing heated, offensive, or disruptive classroom conversations, we will spend this session thinking through strategies for teaching difficult texts and topics. Whether these texts and topics are controversial, unfamiliar, or dense, they often present the same set of challenges: how to motivate students to engage with them in meaningful and productive ways. Participants will discuss the use of trigger warnings (when and how to use them), how to design inclusive and active learning exercises, how to model forms of reading and analysis, and how to build in multiple modes of engagement for students as they navigate difficult texts and topics. Through these conversations, participants will develop concrete strategies for providing entry points for students into difficult course material as well as structured activities to promote their deeper analysis of these texts and topics.

Session 4: Inclusive Grading and Assessments

In this session, participants will bring similar frameworks of inclusion to the design and evaluation of assessments in their courses. Beginning with a discussion about stereotype threat and its negative impact on student performance in the classroom, this session will help participants identify techniques for reducing stereotype threat in their own classrooms. Participants will discuss different forms of assessment in their disciplines and ways in which to make them more inclusive. We will also explore what inclusive grading looks like in practice by analyzing different models for rubrics, blind grading, and providing formative feedback.

Session 5: Applying Inclusive Teaching Strategies

To put the inclusive teaching strategies developed throughout the seminar into practice, in this session participants will engage in a role-play activity where they will act out different classroom scenarios for discussion and learning. The role-play activity will allow participants to identify effective and inclusive strategies to employ in the classroom, practice implementing these strategies with a small group of peers, and refine their teaching practice by integrating direct peer feedback. Participants will also spend time preparing for their lightning talk presentations that will take place after the end of the seminar. Finally, this session will provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on the seminar and its impact on their overall inclusive teaching practice.


Email if you have any questions or concerns.