Page Updated: January 19, 2022
The Inclusive Curricula and Pedagogy Review Process
The re-examination of curricula and instructional practices must be led by faculty in their respective disciplines – a “one-size-fits-all” approach is unlikely to be effective. Colleges and programs should have the space to engage in these discussions in ways that are best for them. However, the provost’s office, in consultation with deans and a group of UNT faculty called the Inclusive Curriculum Working Group (ICWG), has established broad guidance, will provide some resources to assist programs, and has established some basic expectations to which all programs should adhere. Specifically, every program’s inclusive curriculum and instructional practice review should at a minimum contain four components: a way to gather the opinions and experiences of students in their programs; an opportunity for faculty to re-examine the content, syllabi, instructional practices in their courses; an opportunity for program faculty to re-examine program requirements; and the production of two brief narrative from each program that will be vetted by deans as well as the provost – these will describe steps taken and planned.
- Listening to Students
Our students experience courses and programs in different ways, and they can teach faculty a great deal about how inclusive they feel the program curriculum is, how safe they feel in sharing their perspectives, how welcome they feel in the program, and the like. It is imperative that we seek out and listen to student voices early on as we embark on this important work – it is likely that what is learned in this way will help guide faculty in the rest of the process. Though the particular ways that programs can pursue student input may differ according to local contexts, faculty may wish to consider anonymous surveys and focus groups.
The Inclusive Curriculum Working Group (ICWG), recommends a few general principles:
- Gathering student input should be managed at the level of the program/department, rather than for individual courses. This exercise is intended to help program faculty better understand the perspectives and needs of students, so that they might adapt courses and programs to be more inclusive. It is not intended as means to evaluate individual faculty or courses.
- Certainly, valuable input can be obtained using questions that are more quantitative, and it may be that these may be more easily summarized and analyzed numerically. In addition, however, the ICWG believes that collecting qualitative information from students, perhaps via open-ended short answer survey responses and/or focus group questions, can be extraordinarily powerful and eye-opening.
To assist programs, we provide suggestions for both anonymous surveys and for managing focus groups.
2. Faculty Reflection
Faculty should carefully examine the courses they teach and the instructional practices they employ. A careful examination of the information collected in the previous step (Listening to Students) will be helpful here. In addition, the provost’s office provides the following general questions as examples that may help guide faculty, as well as programming and resources to assist those that need it.
Guiding Questions (not intended to be an exhaustive list)
- How might you better build rapport with your students and foster a sense of community in the classroom?
- How will you encourage students to consider what is learned in the classroom from various perspectives?
- Are individuals from diverse backgrounds recognized in the course materials for their contributions to the scholarly field?
- Does your course expose students to diverse perspectives? In what ways might your course be improved in this regard?
- How will you encourage students to be respectful of others in the class and their perspectives and experiences?
- What specific changes to your instructional practices in and outside of classrooms can ensure that all students feel that they and their perspectives are welcomed and valued?
- How can you make your syllabus more inclusive?
- Have you built several low-stakes assessments into the first month of the semester, so that students gain confidence and better understand expectations?
- Are there multiple ways for students to demonstrate their learning over the course of the semester?
- Do instructional practices (including assessments) promote diversity, equity, and inclusion? How?
- What instructional practices do you implement that create opportunities for students to share diverse perspectives that are respectful and welcoming?
- How will you monitor for indicators of students' feeling alienated, unvalaued, or excluded?
Panel discussion for faculty: Building an Inclusive Syllabus (internal): Fall semester, date TBD
Promoting Equity Through Inclusive Teaching Practices (Viji Sathy and Kelly Hogan): already in Bridge
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy for Faculty (Laura Rendón): mid-fall, date TBD
3. Program-level Reflection
Though much good can be accomplished by faculty re-examining their individual courses and instructional practices, faculty should also engage in a program-level review of the curriculum. The provost’s office provides the following general questions as examples that may help guide faculty, as well as programming and resources to assist those that need it.
Guiding Questions (not intended to be an exhaustive list)
- What courses have content that specifically focuses on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Is the teaching of these courses shared equitably among faculty?
- At what level are the courses that specifically focus on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion? Are these courses all at the upper levels? Are any intro-level courses?
- What courses have a lower-than departmental/university average of minority representation. In those classes in particular, what efforts are made to ensure that all students feel welcomed and valued.
- Are the program requirements structured so that every student will be exposed to DEI-related content (not just in an elective course or two)?
- Are there new courses that could be developed that would usefully expose students to new perspectives or ways of thinking?
- How might our discipline be implicated in the oppression of people of color and other groups that have been marginalized by the dominant culture?
- Are there ways the program could help every student feel welcomed and valued?
- In what ways will the program curriculum recognize and factor in diverse perspectives?
- Have we done all we can at the program or departmental level to widen the use of open educational resources, so that students with financial challenges have opportunity to access materials?
- Collectively, who writes the textbooks and course materials that are used in the program? Do the authors represent a diversity of background and thought?
- In what ways can the overall program curriculum be adjusted to make closing equity gaps in student success more likely?
- What metrics will be examined to assess your efforts in this area?
- (e.g., an annual student survey (“I feel welcomed in my program…I feel included…I feel that my perspectives are valued…etc.), a focus on department-level retention stats, etc.)
- Leading a Curricular Review for academic leaders (Beth Mitchneck): October 29
- Leading a Curricular Review for academic leaders (internal): late fall or early spring
By February 15, 2022 all programs will need to have prepared a 1-page mid-year summary describing steps taken to date and plans for future steps. These should be sent to their deans. Deans will be asked to review and comment on these and submit final versions to the Vice Provost for Student Success by February 28, 2022.
By May 1, 2022, all programs will need to have prepared a 5-7 page narrative describing how their faculty have addressed the areas above and what further steps are planned for the future. These should be sent to their deans. Deans will be asked to review and comment on these and submit final versions to the Vice Provost for Student Success by May 31, 2022.