Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Inclusive Teaching > Diversity and Social Identities at DePaul
Finding ways to engage students often begins with learning more about them. Where are they from? What is important to them? How have they been shaped by the world around them? What ideas and conceptions about the subject matter are they bringing with them on the first day of your course?
This guide contains the following sections and resources:
Compared to students at the
average public or private non-profit university, DePaul students are more diverse. At DePaul
Students of color represent
39% of undergraduate students
Students of color represent about
34% of graduate students and 30% of law students
53% of undergraduates and 56% of graduates
First generation students represent
30% of undergraduate first year students
You can find more
in-depth student and other institutional data from
Institutional Research and Market Analytics.
Social identity refers to one’s sense of self based on their feeling of belonging to a social group. Social groups can take many forms, including race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, class, nationality, and religion; often, these groups (and identities) intersect.
When it comes to our students, a sense of belonging refers to their “perceived social support on campus, a feeling or sensation of connectedness, and the experience of mattering or feeling cared about, accepted, respected, valued by, and important to the campus community or others on campus such as faculty, staff, and peers” (Strayhorn 2018). Belonging has been found to be a critical dimension of student success in college, possibly even more so for students who have not been traditionally represented in higher education, and has been shown to predict satisfaction with university life (Bye et al. 2019; Walton et al. 2015).
Students who report feeling the greatest sense of belonging tend to:
A welcoming learning community is one where all students feel like they belong and matter.
Zumbran et al. (2014) found that students who reported greater feelings of belonging, “tended to rate their instructors as prepared, professional, and respectful … [and] more enthusiastic, passionate, and caring in the classroom.” Students who also believed they would do well in the course tended to report a greater sense of belonging, as well as those who reported feeling accepted by peers.
Pronouns are an important part of speech, because it is how we refer to one another without using names. Pronouns are also a key marker of gender identity. Using the name and pronouns a student has asked you to use is an essential part of creating a welcoming, inclusive learning space.
Students’ pronouns are listed in your class roster in Campus Connect. You can also ask for names and pronouns
in a course survey that you distribute in the beginning of the quarter or even before the quarter starts. If you are unsure which pronouns someone uses, ask.
For example, if you are unsure of a students’ pronouns, you might reach out to a student privately by email and say, “I’d like to ensure I’m using the correct pronouns with my students. Would you mind sharing your pronouns with me? Mine are ___.”
Many instructors also add their pronouns to their
syllabus, email signature, and display names in tools like Zoom.
View more tips on creating a LGBTQA+ Inclusive Classroom from the University of Arizona.
Allen, W. R. (1992). “The color of success: African-American college student outcomes at predominantly White and historically Black public colleges and universities.” Harvard Educational Review, 62, 26–44.
Bye, L., Muller, F., & Oprescu, F. (2019). The impact of social captial on student wellbeing and university life satisfaction: a semester-long repeated measures study. Higher Education Research and Development, 39(5), 898-912. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2019.1705253
Carneval, A.P. and Strohl, J. (2013). “Separate & Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege.” Georgetown Public Policy Institute: Center on Education and the Workforce.
Du Bois, W. E. B. (1897).
The Strivings of the Negro People”, The Atlantic Monthly, August: 194–197.
Du Bois, W. E. B. (2007).
Black reconstruction in America : an essay toward a history of the part which Black folk played in the attempt to reconstruct democracy in America, 1860-1880. New York: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1935)
Goddard, R. D., Hoy, W. K., & Hoy, A. W. (2000).
Collective teacher efficacy: Its meaning, measure, and impact on student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 37(2), 479-507.
McIntosh, P. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” (1989). Peace and Freedom Magazine. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. July/August, pp. 10-12, Philadelphia, PA
The Abolition of White Democracy. Minneapolis, Min: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. Print.
Powell, John A., and Stephen Menendian. "The problem of othering: Towards inclusiveness and belonging." Othering & Belonging 1 (2016): 14-39.
Strayhorn, T. L. (2018).
College students' sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. Routledge.
Tajfel, H., Turner, J. C., Austin, W. G., & Worchel, S. (1979). An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict. Organizational Identity: A Reader, 56(65), 9780203505984-16.
Walton, G.M., & Cohen, G. L. (2007). A question of belonging: Race, social fit, and academic achievement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(1), 82-96. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.206
Zhang, Q. (2014)
Assessing the Effects of Instructor Enthusiasm on Classroom Engagement, Learning Goal Orientation, and Academic Self-Efficacy, Communication Teacher, 28:1, 44-56, DOI: 10.1080/17404622.2013.839047
Zumbrunn, S., McKim, C., Buhs, E. et al.
Support, belonging, motivation, and engagement in the college classroom: a mixed method study. Instr Sci 42, 661–684 (2014). https://doi-org.ezproxy.depaul.edu/10.1007/s11251-014-9310-0