Inclusive Syllabus Statement Bank

Syllabi are a great way to convey to students the expectations of a course, in terms of course requirements and classroom behavior/etiquette. They are also a great way to set the tone of the course and creating a classroom environment that is welcoming to all students and perspectives.

In building your course syllabus, the Office of Social Equity and Title IX would encourage you to include syllabus language that reflects the diverse and inclusive classroom environment that you are looking to foster. In creating these statements, we would like to highlight what we consider to be model statements that you can use in whole or part to fit the structure of your course, department, or professional organization’s guidelines.

As always, please make sure your syllabus contains the most up-to-date information per IUP’s Policy on Semester Course Syllabi.

Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching also has a great resource on Syllabus Design that you may find beneficial in thinking through your course design and how to make the information accessible to students. 

Sample Diversity and Inclusion Statements from IUP

These statements have been shared by their authors with permission to use them in whole or part. We would love to feature additional syllabus statements that are being used by IUP faculty and departments. Please send statements to title-ix@iup.edu.

 

Sample 1

Courtesy of Roger Briscoe II:

I would like to create a learning environment for my students that supports a diversity of thoughts, perspectives, and experiences, and honors your identities (including race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, ability, etc.) To help accomplish this:

  • If you have a name and/or set of pronouns that differ from those that appear in your official records, please let me know.
  • If you feel like your performance in the class is being impacted by your experiences outside of class, please speak with me. 

I want to be a resource for you. If you prefer to speak with someone outside of the course, advisors, deans, or trusted faculty are excellent resources. 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 the 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 identity, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated.

All interactions in this class are expected to be done in a respectful and professional manner even if class discussion prompts ideas and opinions different from your own. You do not need to agree with others’ opinions, but it is important to respond to them respectfully. It is possible that some of the material in this course may evoke strong emotions, please be respectful of others' emotions and be mindful of your own. Please let me know if something said or done in the classroom, by either myself, students, or other people involved in this course is particularly troubling or causes discomfort or offense. While our intention may not be to cause discomfort or offense, the impact of what happens throughout the course is not to be ignored and is something that is considered to be very important and deserving of attention. If and when this occurs, there are several ways to alleviate some of the discomfort you may experience:

  1. Discuss the situation privately with me. I am always open to listening to students' experiences and want to work with students to find acceptable ways to process and address an issue.
  2. Discuss the situation with the class. Chances are there is at least one other student in the class who had a similar response to the material. Discussion enhances the ability for all class participants to have a fuller understanding of context and impact of course material and class discussions.
  3. Notify me of the issue through another source such as your academic advisor, a trusted faculty member, or a peer. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable discussing the issue directly with me, I encourage you to seek out another, more comfortable avenue to address the issue.

Sample 2

Courtesy of the Speech Language Pathologies Program:

IUP has policies prohibiting discrimination based upon (including but not limited to) race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran’s status. See IUP’s non-discrimination statement (https://www.iup.edu/socialequity/policies/statement-of-nondiscrimination-english/). Faculty, staff, and students are expected to treat all individuals equitably and without discrimination. In our program, we strive for fair representation of all groups of people, the inclusion of minority perspectives and voices, and the appreciation of various cultural group practices. As professionals in speech-language pathology and audiology, we must develop a high level of cultural competence in order to provide effective and appropriate services to clients and their families, and to function effectively on multidisciplinary teams in various education and healthcare settings. Therefore, the faculty are committed to fostering an inclusive environment for all students, and to encouraging and supporting students’ development of cultural competence. 

In this course, I would like to create a learning environment that supports diversity of thoughts, perspectives and experiences, and that honors your identities (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, class, sexual identity, ability, age, language). To help achieve this, please let me know if you have a name or set of pronouns that you would like me to use to refer to you that differs from your IUP records. In addition, we as a class will respect the diversity of viewpoints of all members of the class. We will engage in civil discourse even when sharing differing opinions and ideas. We will adhere to the IUP Civility Statement and “act honestly, take responsibility for my behavior and continuous learning, and respect the freedom of others to express their views” and “discourage intolerance, hatred, and injustice” (https://www.iup.edu/studentsupportandstandards/policies/iup-civility-statement.html). When events occur on campus or in the world that provide an opportunity to discuss diversity and inclusion issues, we may discuss them in class to learn and grow in our cultural competence. I (like all of you) am still in the process of learning about diverse perspectives and identities. If something was said in class (by anyone) that made you feel uncomfortable, please come talk to me about it or write something and get it to me anonymously. I want to be a resource for you and promote a positive climate within our class and community.