University of Utah Library Guides
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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Policy for Pedagogical Development

In 2020, the University of Utah's Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Mary Ann Villarreal, tasked a group of staff and faculty to investigate and report on policies worldwide that encourage ongoing pedagogical development that is centered on div

Opening Statement

[Note: all references appear in the bibliography page]
Policies for a more inclusive education are being developed and practiced in higher education institutions around the United States. The University of Utah is well positioned to move forward and increase its leadership for pedagogical development throughout its colleges, departments and classrooms. Viewed through the lens of scholars, administrators, faculty and staff participating in their local inclusive education initiatives, the following represents an analysis of highly cited & esteemed literature on inclusive pedagogy.

Working definition and principles of inclusive teaching
Inclusive teaching involves intentionally creating an equitable classroom environment that actively engages all students in meaningful and relevant learning, values the contributions of students’ diverse backgrounds, and acknowledges systemic and institutional challenges.

  • Inclusive teaching is a mindset and continually evolving process.
  • Classroom environment impacts student learning as much as academic content.
  • Diversity of perspectives provides a more enriched educational experience.
  • Many consider inclusive teaching to be synonymous with excellent teaching.
    (Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence, University of Utah, 2021)

However, the task can feel overwhelming
The definition (of inclusive education is) a masterpiece of rhetoric, easy to accept and difficult to be against or even criticize. ‘The current debate is no longer about what inclusion is and why it is needed; the key question is how it is to be achieved’ (Haug, 2017)."  

What to expect: be patient and consider this a long-term journey, rather than a single 5-year initiative
Thinking about a policy involves more than just thinking about the texts that describe rules, laws, and principles - it also involves thinking about the discussions, debates, and interactions among people, through which the meanings of the concepts and ideas that make up the policy are shaped. A policy should not be considered static, rigid or fixed in stone; rather it should be understood as part of a dynamic process (Kaplan & Lewis, 2013). 

Involvement of all stakeholders is a key driver of success
…the impact of any policy development and implementation is dependent on the extent and the quality of relationships between education stakeholders. For any policy related to inclusive education to yield intended effects, there is a need for meaningful and sustained collaboration between policy
makers and other key stakeholders (Kaplan & Lewis, 2013).

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