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Inclusive Classroom

An Equity-Guided Faculty Development Teaching Resource


For whom is this resource?  All Faculty
What will you find here?  Equity-guided faculty development resources to facilitate the ability of faculty to (1) effectively teach a diversity of students; (2) manage socially and emotionally challenging subject matter; and (3) understand how their own backgrounds contribute to the learning environment.

For Faculty Colleagues.  The purpose of this conversation is to guide you to faculty development resources that can support your success in diverse and dynamic classroom environments.  Penn State’s students are part of multiple and intersecting social identities, backgrounds, language competencies and geographical regions.  Thus, it is important that faculty think about how best to create and inclusive classroom, one where all students, regardless of backgrounds, identities and social differences feel they are valued, respected and are given equitable opportunities to perform to their potential.  As a Penn State faculty member, it is up to you to create and maintain inclusive classroom environments, but you are not expected to so alone. 

For most of us, “how to” build an inclusive learning environment has not been and is not a required part of our formal professional development.  Nonetheless, our ability to do this well is critical to our success, as well as to the learning outcomes of undergraduate and graduate students in the courses we teach.  I expect we generally agree that students should be treated with respect and fairness by peer classroom participants when they enter a classroom environment, whether the course delivery is in person, remote, large lecture or a small discussion section. It sounds like a simple task but because it is so important, we want to make sure that you have the resources to think through its complexities, review a few supportive resources, and determine what best fits your subject matter, and personal and pedagogical styles. 

Of course, you too, as a faculty member, should also expect respect from students in the classroom and most students, most of the time conduct themselves accordingly.  However, it is always possible that one or more students may act inappropriately and disrupt the inclusive classroom environment that you have managed to create.  Please review Educational Equity’s Classroom Disruption Protocols for more guidance on what to do under these circumstances and so that you are prepared should they occur. 

Below is a list of faculty development teaching resources for faculty.  It will be regularly updated with new information and resources as they are identified.  Faculty Pathway, Educational Equity welcomes community input.  Please feel free to send materials or website links that you recommend we add to our list of resources.

The Syllabus
The syllabus, selected course content, and the University’ Office of Student Conduct policies and protocols are your opportunities to set the tone and the ground rules for class participation, attendance and instructor response to any problems that arise. 

Development of an Inclusive Syllabus


Hot Button Issues and Difficult Discussion in the Classroom

Look to these faculty development resources for information and ideas about how best to prepare for those difficult conversations in the classroom.


Self-reflection and Self-awareness:  Bias, Stereotypes and Stereotype Threat
Like students, faculty members enter the classroom with their own respective social identities, backgrounds, language competencies and social histories – all of which may affect how you are perceived by others and how you perceive and interact with your students.  Use these resources to explore how our own backgrounds play a role in the classroom.

Multi-resource websites