Diversity Resources Handbook

One on one computer instruction

Complied by Wendé Nichols | SAHE Master's Degree 2011 | Updated Aug 2016

Statement of Purpose

As a graduate student in Student Affairs in Higher Education and Graduate College Teaching, I am able to view the multiple dilemmas around diversity and inclusion in and out of the classroom. Today’s college students are different from past generations in several ways, among them having distinct demographic characteristics, views of people different from themselves, and attitudes about social justice issues. Additionally, conflict around diversity issues is one of the dominant causes of tension between college students. Many students need and want to learn how to engage in conversations across difference. As well, this generation is not being exposed to multiple perspectives and difference in the classroom. Most faculty and staff are not required or equipped with resources or training on how to implement multiculturalism into curriculum or pedagogy. In response to this challenge, during the fall 2010 semester, with the support of CTE, I developed a Handbook of Diversity Resources at Miami University and Beyond to be used primarily by faculty to help with resources and to start engaging with students about and across difference. Multicultural education is necessary in higher education in order for faculty, staff, and students to best prepare for and react to differences to ensure that all students are welcomed and supported on our campus and that all students learn to collaborate effectively with people unlike themselves. By providing faculty, administrators, and staff with a Handbook, we can begin to deal with issues of power, privilege, and oppression. These in- and out-of-class modifications will help reinforce our desire for global citizens and improve the campus climate. —Wendé Nichols, Master’s Degree candidate, Student Affairs in Higher Education and Graduate College Teaching, January 2011

Miami University Diversity Statement

Miami University is a community dedicated to intellectual engagement. Our campuses consist of students, faculty, and staff from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. By living, working, studying, and teaching, we bring our unique viewpoints and life experiences together for the benefit of all. This inclusive learning environment, based upon an atmosphere of mutual respect and positive engagement, invites all campus citizens to explore how they think about knowledge, about themselves, and about how they see themselves in relation to others. Our intellectual and social development and daily educational interactions, whether co-curricular or classroom related, are greatly enriched by our acceptance of one another as members of the Miami University community. Through valuing our own diversity and the diversity of others, we seek to learn from one another, foster a sense of shared experience, and commit to making the University the intellectual home of us all. We recognize that we must uphold and abide by University policies and procedures protecting individual rights and guiding democratic engagement. Any actions disregarding these policies and procedures, particularly those resulting in discrimination, harassment, or bigoted acts, will be challenged swiftly and collectively. MiamiOH.edu/about-miami/leadership/president/diversity-statement/index.html

Miami University and Inclusion

All who work, live, study, and teach in the Miami community must be committed to the principles of mutual respect and positive engagement, which are integral parts of Miami's focus, goals, and mission. Miami University is committed to achieving excellence through inclusion and becoming a truly diverse university. In fact, Miami aspires to become a national model in this arena. Miami's approach to inclusion involves every aspect of the campus and surrounding communities. Our commitment to inclusive excellence is reflected in our mission and values and our organizational structure, as well as in the formal and informal curriculum. To develop ever greater levels of cultural competence, we work continuously to foster a campus climate that supports learning and development. Although every unit on campus strives toward excellence through inclusion, a number of offices have diversityspecific responsibilities. Miami's commitment to inclusive excellence encourages us to attract and retain significant numbers of students, faculty, and staff from historically underrepresented groups as well as members of other groups that have faced significant barriers to higher education. Miami offers a wide variety of opportunities for students and faculty to explore diversity and inclusion in the context of courses, programs, and experiences across the academic units and in the social dimensions of the campus environment. Achieving inclusive excellence also requires the development of a psychological and behavioral climate supportive of all students. http://blogs.miamioh.edu/miamipolicies/?p=95

Frequently Asked Questions About Inclusivity in the Classroom

How do I manage student conflict and facilitate difficult dialogues in the classroom?

The goals and outcomes of classroom dialogues are to draw forth genuine and personal views that will be respectfully treated and openly considered. Because one’s social identity is informed by access to social, political, and economic resources, it is vital that students and faculty be mindful of privilege, power, and difference when engaging one another. Dialogue can provide faculty and staff with tools necessary to navigate such challenging terrain.


What are the do’s and don’ts of inclusive language?

Inclusive language is wording that aims to ensure that all members of society are treated with equal respect and that no individual or group is overlooked or denigrated. Inclusive language avoids terms that might be considered offensive or which stereotype some people by needlessly concentrating on how they differ from others. For example, language that makes assumptions about individuals on the basis of their race, disability, sexuality or gender could not be considered inclusive.


What is chill in the classroom?

Chill occurs in the classroom when a faculty member’s behavior unintentionally makes a student, usually from an under-represented group, feel unwelcome and excluded. Creating a welcoming and inclusive classroom involves being aware of and avoiding chill in the classroom, incorporating inclusive examples, images, history, and context into the course content, and employing varied teaching methods that will foster the success of students with diverse learning styles.


What are strategies for faculty to examine the impacts of social identity on teaching?

The incorporation of multicultural principles into teaching practice is a prerequisite for meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. Many dimensions of diversity shape students' learning styles, approach to and perception of problem-solving tasks, and manner of processing information (Morey & Kitano, 1997). Educators who recognize and respect the unique identities and backgrounds of their students have the potential to facilitate greater student learning and sense of personal efficacy (Gay, 2000).


How do I avoid stereotyping a student due to social group?

Instructors need to understand a phenomenon known as stereotype threat, or the risk of confirming a stereotype about one’s social group through one’s own performance (Steele & Aronson, 1995) as well as strategies to reduce stereotype threat on college campuses.

What are key teaching strategies that can help engage students from diverse social and cultural backgrounds?

In higher education, educators must take proactive measures to communicate to students that they are welcome in the course and are seen as capable and successful learners. Some first steps are addressing who your students are, who you are as an instructor, how you teach, and what you teach.


How can I plan proactively for a student with a learning or physical disability?

In higher education, educators must allow students to self-report their identities and not allow socially imposed definitions to shape how we meet the needs of this student population. Additionally, higher education community members need to provide intentional opportunities for students to develop and share their stories in a non-threatening environment.


Can faculty or staff choose not to provide disability accommodations?

Providing disability accommodations is not a choice. Because the University is a recipient of federal funds, it must comply with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act, Title III, which sets regulatory standards for access for students with disabilities.


How do I avoid gender- and heterosexually-biased language?

Problems in gender- or heterosexually-biased language occur when terminology is unclear or when terminology has been associated with negative stereotypes. There are forms of preferred terminology as well as ways to increase the visibility of sexual orientation and gender in language.


What does a multicultural curriculum look like?

Curriculum from any subject area can be altered to include multicultural content. This can be accomplished by (a) inclusion of a variety of perspectives, (b) discussions of social contexts, including issues of equity and justice, and (c) activities that foster critical thinking and the development of self-awareness.


Offices Supporting Diversity at Miami University

Most individual Miami University schools and colleges have offices or programs to support multiculturalism and diversity. This list, while not exhaustive, provides information about some major offices that serve the entire University community.

Office of Diversity Affairs (ODA)

2030 Armstrong Student Center

The Office of Diversity Affairs offers direct support to diverse populations, social justice through diversity education, and multicultural programming and campus resources on issues of diversity.

Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Services (GLBTQ Services)

3032 Armstrong Student Center

The Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Services seeks to make Miami University an open, safe, and inclusive environment for people of all sexualities and gender identities. They provide programming, support, and resources intended to raise awareness regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning issues.

Women’s Center

127 McGuffey Hall

The Women’s Center helps facilitate the empowerment of women students, faculty, and staff through support, education, and advocacy for the benefit of all members at the Miami University community.

Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity

Hanna House
219 E. Spring Street

The Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity provides members of the university community a place to request accommodations for disabilities, obtain guidance for providing equal opportunity in personnel matters, and to resolve issues of harassment and discrimination.

Office of Disability Resources

19 Campus Avenue Building

The Office of Disability Resources provides support services, accommodations and resources to ensure equal access to education, employment, and University life.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

214 MacMillan Hall

The Office of International Education provides international education services, consulting assistance, programming activities, and advocacy leadership in support of the University’s international education goals.

Center for American and World Cultures (CAWC)

105 MacMillan Hall

The Center for American and World Cultures seeks to provide spaces of investigation and encounter about American and world cultures to build students’ multicultural competencies and prepare them for informed global engagement.

The Myaamia Center

200 Bonham House

The Myaamia Center strives to expose undergraduate and graduate students at Miami University to tribal efforts and advance the research needs of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma with a focus on myaamia language, culture and history.

Office of Learning Disabilities Services

14 Campus Avenue Building

The Office of Learning Disabilities Services supports students with documented learning disabilities (LD) and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and provides services designed to ensure access to University programs and curriculum.

Student Counseling Center

195 Health Services Center

The counseling center provides primary prevention programming and consultation to students, faculty and staff that aim to facilitate healthy development and psychological functioning of students and systems.

Resources on Multicultural Education and Diversity Issues in Higher Education

Miami University has an extensive collection of articles on multicultural education and diversity issues in higher education. This bibliography notes a few of the most practical and stimulating readings, especially for newcomers to discussions about teaching and learning in the diverse classroom.

• Adams, M., Bell, L. A., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (2007, 2nd ed.). Teaching for diversity and social justice: A sourcebook. New York: Routledge. This collection uses an integrated approach to social justice and oppression. It presents theoretical frameworks, strategies, and practical suggestions for facilitating communication and understanding across race, gender, class, religion, ability, and sexual orientation.

• Anderson, J. A. (2008). Driving change through diversity and globalization. Sterling, VA: Stylus. This book explores shifting the organizational perspective on diversity through institutional and academic change. Additionally, the author provides practical teaching strategies that engage student difference and empower voices of diverse students in the classroom.

• Artiles, A., Harris-Murri, N., & Rostenberg, D. (2006). Inclusion as social justice: Critical notes on discourses, assumptions, and the road ahead. Theory Into Practice, 45(3), 260-268. This article seeks to discuss and analyze critically the idea of inclusion of inclusion as social justice. There are multiple discourses on inclusion and the disparate meanings of social justice that permeate the inclusive education literature. Also the authors show the intersection of inclusion and social justice in educational systems that serve culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students.

• Bowser, B. P., Jones, T., & Young, G. A. (Eds.). (1995). Toward the multicultural university. Westport, CT: Praeger. In this book, the authors explore the multidimensional nature of multicultural education and strategies of inclusive teaching and learning for faculty and students. They primarily focus on three “oppositional cultures”: African American, Puerto Rican and Latino(a), and American Indian. Some of the overarching themes consist of the necessary influence social change has on cultural transition, Eurocentric education, and the present need for multicultural education. 13

• Howell, A., & Tuitt, F. (Eds.). (2003). Race and higher education: Rethinking pedagogy in diverse college classrooms. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Howell and Tuitt present a range of approaches for teaching students from diverse backgrounds in the 21st century. They argue that as colleges and universities become more diverse, pedagogies must evolve so that they take into account students from different races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, cultures, and abilities.

• Ouellett, M. L. (2005). Teaching inclusively: Resources for course, department, & institutional change in higher education. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. This book advocates for more transparent connections between change initiatives at the individual, departmental, and college-wide levels by highlighting the ways in which such practices and goals can relate to and support each other. Additionally, the author describes programs and practices useful in addressing diversity issues across the disciplines as well as within discipline-specific contexts.

• Renn, K. (1998). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students in the college classroom. In R. Sanlo (Ed.), Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students: A handbook for faculty and administrators (pp. 231-244). New York: Greenwood. This chapter discusses the types of prejudices sexual minority students face in the classroom. It has an overview of student learning styles and analyzes how they might apply to LGBT students. It also offers suggestions for faculty members to help LGBT students enhance their college experience.

• Sarkisian, E. (2006). Teaching American students: A guide for international faculty and teaching assistants in colleges and universities. Cambridge, MA: Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. This guide helps prepare international scholars to teach in classrooms in the United States. It provides rich insights and practical wisdom that teachers who were not born in the United States can apply immediately.

• Tatum, B. D. (1992). Talking about race, learning about racism: The application of racial identity development theory in the classroom. Harvard Educational Review, 62(1), 1-24. Tatum provides examples of teaching strategies for effectively incorporating analyses of race and race relations into the curriculum, and for handling students’ resistance to engaging in dialogues about race. 14

• Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2002). Educating culturally responsive teachers: A coherent approach. Albany, NY: University of New York Press. Villegas and Lucas want to offer a coherent approach to preparing future teachers to be culturally responsive. They argue that re-conceptualizing the curriculum is not solely sufficient to prepare culturally responsive teachers adequately. To provide a context, they review the current and future demographic data for the student population and the teaching force. By better understanding the changing demographic landscape, educators will have a foundation for understanding equitable practices.

Strategies for Teaching Diverse Students and Faculty

These web resources present several different types of students that one might encounter within a diverse classroom as well as strategies and techniques to teach students of diverse abilities and backgrounds.

Creating Inclusive College Classrooms


This website presents a general overview, from course content to behaviors in teaching, of how to teach in a manner that is inclusive of all student identities and backgrounds.

Perceptions of Faculty by Diverse Students


This website provides a study of several diverse groups of students and their responses to a typical college classroom. The themes emphasized within the study show very common racial perceptions of diversity and how these problems can be addressed within the classroom.

Teaching International Students



This website addresses issues to take into consideration when teaching students for whom English is not their first language, or non-native speakers. These tips will help assist teachers in better communicating with non-native students.

Teaching Non-Traditional Students


Non-traditional students are students who are not predominantly young, white, middleclass, full time students.

This website addresses the different learning perspectives of non-traditional students and how teachers can best tailor their teaching to these students.

Teaching Students With Disabilities


This website presents general strategies to accommodate students with disabilities within the classroom and provides suggestions on ways to better assist them.

Teaching Adult Students


This website provides common characteristics and needs of adult learners within the classroom and offers techniques on how best to accommodate them.

Teaching Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students



These websites provide useful strategies and tips for faculty members and departments to create a climate respectful of all students. The recommendations will enhance acceptance and security for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual students.

Teaching First-Generation College Students


This website provides a brief literature review of research related to characteristics of first-generation college students, retention issues, and college intervention efforts for first-generation students.

Teaching Experiences of Diverse Faculty


This website addresses the needs of diverse education professionals in higher education.

Religious (Spirituality and Faith) Diversity in the Classroom



Some common questions about religious diversity are: How do we engage the reality of diversity in the classroom? How do we encourage dialogue and empathy among students? How do we create a community which supports religious pluralism? These websites seek to promote thinking critically about new ways to teach and engage in religious diversity.