Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Inclusive Teaching

Inclusive Teaching

​​​​​​​ Hockings (2010) defines inclusive teaching as a range of intentional strategies that “engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all.” The University of Michigan offers a more detailed explanation of inclusive teaching that emphasizes the importance of identifying how systemic inequities and bias influence learning: 

“Inclusive teaching involves deliberately cultivating a learning environment where all students are treated equitably, have equal access to learning, and feel valued and supported in their learning. Such teaching attends to social identities and seeks to change the ways systemic inequities shape dynamics in teaching-learning spaces, affect individuals’ experiences of those spaces, and influence course and curriculum design.” 

Inclusive teaching practices are beneficial for all students and can be applied in any discipline, field, or teaching and learning context. Incorporating inclusive teaching practices requires planning, ongoing reflection, and revision, and will help instructors to create welcoming and productive learning environments. 

Essential Elements of Inclusive Courses

Creating learning experiences that are purposeful, relevant and accessible to all your students requires advanced planning. When designing inclusive courses, you should ask the following questions (adapted from NYU’s “Inclusive Curriculum Design and Assessment Practices” toolkit): 

  • Are the learning experiences accessible for all students? 
  • Do the course policies take into account the different challenges students may encounter?
  • Does the course content provide diverse perspectives, including those that are often marginalized?
  • Are the assessments designed for improvement?
  • Do students have the opportunity to demonstrate learning in more than one way?
The resources in this site will help you to build inclusive courses and classrooms. 

Use DePaul's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Partners, Resources, and Programs 

DePaul has a valuable set of partners, resources, and programs that you can use to help ensure your classes are inclusive and effective. 

Use Teaching and Learning Frameworks to Design Accessible Courses 

Teaching and learning frameworks can serve as guidelines or conceptual maps to help design learning experiences that are accessible for all students. Read more about how to use Backward Design and Universal Design for Learning. 

Set an Inclusive Foundation 

Use D2L Tools to Create Accessible and Inclusive Courses

Be an Anti-Racist Educator 

See Being an Anti-Racist Educator for resources to help develop explicit anti-racist agendas in your courses and academic work. As Buffie Longmire-Avital and Peter Felten argue in What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellent in College Teaching, "To be an inclusive instructor is to critique and challenge traditions, systems, and structures that were constructed to exclude and to marginalize" (x).

Diversify Your Curriculum 

Diversifying your course content is one way to foster an inclusive learning environment. See Diversifying the Curriculum for suggestions. 

Consider DePaul Student Diversity and Create a Welcoming Learning Community

DePaul students have diverse social identities. See Diversity and Socia​​l Identities at DePaul​ for more information about DePaul’s student body and for strategies to help you create a welcoming learning community. 

Reflect on Cultural Assumptions and Working with International Students

See Cultural Variations for some tools to help you and students learn more about how culture impacts thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions. 

Identify Unconscious and Implicit Bias 

Everyone has implicit biases that can motivate unwelcome actions. See Implicit Bias to learn more about identifying your implicit biases and addressing microaggressions that are often tied to biases.

Learn About Linguistic Diversity 

DePaul students have a variety of language backgrounds. See Linguistic Diversity to learn more about how you can consider language diversity in your courses and some strategies for communicating with speakers of other languages. 

Facilitate Difficult Discussions

Discussions are a great active learning strategy and are one way to engage students in conversations about current events and issues. See Facilitating Difficult Discussions for strategies to help facilitate difficult discussions in your courses. 

Work to Combat Bias and Support Students via Inclusive Grading and Assessment Practices 

Reflect on Your Teaching and Solicit Student Feedback

Consider asking a peer to observe your teaching​ and create opportunities for students to provide anonymous feedback


Addy, T. M., Dube, D., Mitchell, K. A., & SoRelle, M. E. (2021). What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Ambrose, S., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C.​, & Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Chapter 6: “Why do Student Development and Course Climate Matter for Student Learning?”

Hansen, E. (2011). Idea-based learning: A course design process to promote conceptual understanding. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Hockings, C. (2010, April). Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education: A synthesis of research (Rep.)

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and learning. (n.d.). Overview of Inclusive Teaching at Michigan.