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Tips on Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment

The most important things we do to foster student success and help our students progress towards graduation happen in the classroom. Here are some tips on what you can do to create an inclusive learning environment, and some campus resources you can refer students to in order to provide our full support.

Set clear student expectations

  • Explicitly articulate assessment criteria. Share grading rubrics. Offer students multiple low-stakes opportunities for demonstrating learning.
  • Provide timely, clear and actionable feedback that helps students take ownership of their learning.
  • Establish community agreements and discussion guidelines. Work with students to create those guidelines to promote an inclusive learning environment.
  • .Provide examples of exemplary work. Use those examples to communicate expectations, facilitate understanding, demonstrate discipline-specific skills and help articulate assessment expectations and standards.

Build a sense of belonging and trust

  • Build instructor-student rapport. Make a point of learning students’ names (and how to pronounce them) and get to know students through in-class surveys and activities, office hours, and online chats. Share your passions, interests and personal learning process with students.
  • Build student-student rapport. Encourage students to work in pairs or groups and share learning experiences.
  • Treat each student as an individual. Do not expect them to speak for an entire demographic group or make suppositions about their membership in one. Ask for preferred pronouns.
  • Avoid making assumptions about students’ abilities based on stereotypes. Be aware of those stereotypes and work to not perpetuate them.
  • Address challenging classroom behaviors and attitudes, such as microaggressions and offensive and alienating comments. Make it a teachable moment, asking students to reflect critically on assumptions and positions without attributing motives.

Design your course for accessibility

  • Provide multiple means of representation and supporting materials (illustrations, glossaries, etc.). Use a variety of modalities and adjustable formats.
  • Provide multiple means of action and expression. Offer a range of assessments for students to demonstrate learning and frequent opportunities for feedback on progress.
  • Provide multiple means of engagement. Encourage learner autonomy with choice of topics or assignment formats. Invite students to co-design elements of classroom activities or assignments.

Read <em>5 Principles as Pathways to Inclusive Teaching</em>

In 5 Principles as Pathways to Inclusive Teaching, Soulaymane Kachani, Catherine Ross and Amanda Irvin offer concrete strategies that are guided by research to use in the classroom.

Read <em>How to Make Your Teaching More Inclusive: Advice Guide</em>

From How to Make Your Teaching More Inclusive: Advice Guide: “This guide is for any faculty member who believes, as we do, that education can be an equalizer. We share tips here that any instructor can use to minimize inequities and help more students succeed. We’re not suggesting a complete redesign of your courses, but more of an overlay to your current teaching practices.”

Offices for Referrals

UNLV Support Team

The UNLV Support Team comprises student support professionals from across the university who have extensive experience in student health and wellness. Support Team referrals may be completed anonymously, and are immediately received by members of our team. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff who are concerned about a UNLV student to complete a referral form, available on our website.

Academic Success Center

The Academic Success Center (ASC) offers Academic Success Coaching, Advising, Tutoring, Supplemental Instruction.

Academic Advising

Advisors are resources who serve as guides through academic choices, policies, and requirements. It is recommended that undergraduate students meet with an academic advisor once per semester. During advising sessions, students will discuss upcoming courses and degree requirements based on their current coursework, their commitments outside of UNLV, and their intended educational goals.

Peer Mentoring

Trained undergraduates who serve as peer mentors are available to meet with students in every college.  Peer mentors help students transition to UNLV, set goals and priorities, and model positive behaviors that promote academic and social integration into our campus community. Visit the Peer Mentoring page for more information.

Student Outreach Specialist (SOS) Team

This team provides proactive outreach through phone calls, emails, and text messages to students throughout the academic year.  The team provides reminders for upcoming deadlines including course registration, makes referrals to campus resources, and directs students to meet with their faculty during office hours.  Faculty can request outreach to students in their course(s) on an individual or group basis by contacting us at: studentsuccess@unlv.edu.

The Intersection

The Intersection: Academic Multicultural Resource Center is a comprehensive and sustainable resource center for students — particularly first-generation and students of color — faculty and staff, and our community at large. The Intersection provides access and linkages to research, people, information, and services.

Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach (The Center)

The Center serves eligible participants who are low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate degree. The Center provides academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial literacy & guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access, retention and graduation. We provide direct support services for students, as well as relevant national training for directors and their staff.

Disability Resource Center (DRC)

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is committed to supporting students with disabilities at UNLV through the appropriate use of advocacy, accommodations, and supportive services to ensure access to campus courses, services, and activities.

Office of Student Conduct

The Office of Student Conduct assists students, faculty and staff with the conduct code and policy enforcement; serves as a resource to the campus community surrounding student conflict resolution; and provides an extensive outreach program that includes presentations such as academic integrity and preventing academic misconduct, conflict resolution and managing disruptive behavior. Our goal is to foster an environment where students have an opportunity to be accountable for their behavior and continue their education in a supportive atmosphere.

Student Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS is staffed by counselors who specialize in working with college students to resolve problems commonly experienced by students of all ages and diverse backgrounds. Currently enrolled students who have paid their current Health/Mental Health Fees are eligible for counseling services free of charge.

UNLV Food Pantry

The UNLV Food Pantry is a year-round food pantry that provides non-perishable items to university students, staff, and faculty who are in need of additional support.

Student Diversity & Social Justice (SDSJ)

Student Diversity & Social Justice (SDSJ) advocates with a diverse student population to amplify and affirm students’ identities through an intersectional framework. We are a student-centered office committed to educating, empowering, and developing UNLV students as leaders to recognize and address societal injustices.

The CARE Center

We CARE for any student, faculty or staff member who has experienced sexual assault, stalking, domestic/dating violence, or is concerned for a friend. We strive to be inclusive of our diverse campus population, therefore we strive to be inclusive of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, legal status, students with disabilities, and other identities. Visit the CARE Center website to learn how we can help.

Other Student Support Resources

When students have more pressing basic needs, it can be difficult for them to focus on their studies. By connecting students to resources that help to meet basic needs, we can better support their academic success. Visit the Student Support page for more information.