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Syllabus Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A statement of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your syllabus is a great way to set a tone of inclusivity and respect in the classroom. Articulating your values regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion and how they contribute to your teaching philosophy conveys your commitment to support the success and development of students from diverse backgrounds.  The statement must be personal and reflect the instructor's commitments to how they aim to create a culture of inclusion for students. The statement is a great way to welcome diverse perspectives, set communication standards of engagement, and honor students' backgrounds and experiences. A DEI syllabus statement can also be helpful by referencing it throughout the term when addressing instances of racism and other forms of oppression during class time.

This page provides a series of resources to help you craft or build upon your DEI syllabus statement.

CETL provides additional resources on Inclusive Teaching Practices, such as the Inclusive Teaching Program and Syllabus Tools.

Recommendations

The following recommendations were adapted from the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning's website on Diversity Statements:

Practice Introspection

Practice Instrospection - Writing a diversity statement is like writing a teaching philosophy statement in that it requires a self-reflective process. Instructors might consider their own background and perspectives when crafting statements that will represent their philosophical and ethical viewpoints for class.

Consider Models

Consider Models - Instructors can consider the larger structure and tone of the syllabus to imagine how a diversity statement may be positioned for a syllabus' tone and impact.

Consider Disciplinary Context

Consider Disciplinary Context - Every discipline has developed conventions and assumptions over decades and centuries of practice. These conventions and assumptions often lead to jargon and shared vocabularies that can be initially opaque for students. Instructors might consider how students with varying backgrounds could respond.

Integrate Teaching Philosophy

Integrate Teaching Philosophy - Engaging with diversity in the classroom is often an extension of the instructor's own teaching philosophy. Research indicates that students often respond positively to transparent indications of teaching strategy and philosophy (Ambrose et al., 2010), so instructors can consider sharing the reasons behind their classroom policies.

Modeling Respect

Modeling Respect - The design and tone of the syllabus can positively impact student engagement with and perception of the instructor. The diversity statement helps set an initial impression, which instructors should uphold throughout the term through personal treatment of students, facilitation of dialogue, and consistency in policies for grading, attendance, participation, and excuse.

Establish Expectations

Establish Expectations - Instructors can use the diversity statement to lay out expectations for student behavior and invite students to become active agents in establishing and maintaining classroom tone.

Campus Resources

Campus Resources - Instructors can use the diversity statement as an opportunity to direct students toward campus resources that facilitate and support diversity initiatives. Cal State LA's Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Cross Cultural Centers provide additional resources, events, and support for the campus community.

DEI Syllabus Statement Examples

Language Adapted from Cal State LA Faculty Handbook

Read the full statement in the Faculty Handbook.

Cal State LA, which historically provided access to students from minorized communities, has one of the most diverse student populations. In addition to access, Cal State LA students must be prepared to live thoughtful and productive lives to build a just society, rich in cultural and ethnic diversity and respectful of both the individual and the society's values. To realize the promise of diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual/affectional orientation, class and disability, we commit to the pursuit ad practice of social justice. We strive to have a curriculum and pedagogy that honors and incorporates the diversity of cultures, languages, and traditions that enhance students' critical, analytic, and creative skills and improve the quality of the educational experience.
I am committed to creating an inclusive environment in my class where a diversity of ideas and values is welcomed and considered necessary for success. My class is a space for everyone to be "heard" and supported. I will occasionally reach out to get feedback on the classroom environment. Please inform me of your personal pronouns.

Yale University

Yale University - Dr. Rona Ramos, Lecturer and Graduate Services Coordinator in Physics
"This class strives to be an inclusive community, learning from the many perspectives that come from having differing backgrounds and beliefs. As a community, we aim to be respectful to all. We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including but not limited to those based on age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. Faculty and students are expected to commit to creating an environment that facilitates inquiry and self-expression, while also demonstrating diligence in understanding how others' viewpoints may be differnt from their own."

University of Iowa - College of Education

"Respect for Diversity: It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In addition, if any of our class meetings conflict with your religious events, please let me know so that we can make arrangements for you."

 

Whitman College

The topics that we're covering in this class are often difficult, not just intellectually but emotionally. While I expect there to be rigorous discussion and even disagreement in the course of our class discussions, I ask that you engage in discussion with care and empathy for other members in the classroom. Aim to disagree without becoming disagreeable. In this class, we will not shy away from the uncomfortable. Critically examining and assessing our most basic assumptions and values is not just one of the tasks of philosophy but is an activity vital to living an authentic life. I urge you to have the courage to the uncomfortable in this class. In exchange for your courage, I will work to ensure a classroom environment that supports your taking these intellectual and emotional risks.

Additional Resources

Below are additional resources with DEI syllabus statement examples from various disciplines, as well as additional guiding questions that can further help frame your statement. We encourage you to take a look at various examples and create a personalized statement that best reflects your values, teaching philosophy, and the learning environment you aim to create for students in your classroom.