1st Edition

Promoting Inclusive Classroom Dynamics in Higher Education A Research-Based Pedagogical Guide for Faculty

By Kathryn C. Oleson Copyright 2021
    223 Pages
    by Routledge

    223 Pages
    by Routledge

    This powerful, practical resource helps faculty create an inclusive dynamic in their classrooms, so that all students are set up to succeed. Grounded in research and theory (including educational psychology, scholarship of teaching and learning, intergroup dialogue, and social justice theory), this book provides practical solutions to help faculty create an inclusive learning environment in which all students can thrive. Each chapter focuses on palpable ideas and adaptive strategies to use right away when teaching. The first chapter consider professors’ intersecting personal and social identities and their expectations for themselves and their students. Chapter 2 considers students’ backgrounds, including class, race, disability, and gender, and focuses on what students bring to the classroom, exploring their basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and belonging; their approaches to learning; and their self-doubts and uncertainties. Chapter 3 draws on universally-designed learning in combination with educational design rooted in social justice and multiculturalism to describe ways to design spaces in which students flourish academically. Two chapters focus on classroom dynamics. Chapter 4 primarily focuses on preparation for having difficult conversations in the classroom, considering how instructors can create a shared understanding between themselves and their students. Chapter 5 focuses on in-the-moment strategies to both create and manage discomfort about sensitive and controversial topics while supporting students of various social identities (such as gender, race, disability). In the closing chapter, the author integrates all the elements in the preceding chapters, and also presents more general college-wide programs to help faculty develop and improve their teaching.

    Foreword—Tia Brown McNair Acknowledgments Preface 1. Instructors 2. Students 3. Context and Content 4. Class Dynamics I 5. Class Dynamics II—Robert R. Murphy and Kathryn C. Oleson 6. Conclusion. Bringing It All Together References About the Authors Index


    Kathryn C. Oleson is dean of the faculty at Reed College. Before becoming dean in July 2020, she was professor of psychology and inaugural director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (2014–2016) at Reed. Prior to coming to Reed in 1995, she was a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow at The Ohio State University after finishing her PhD in social psychology at Princeton University. With Robert Arkin and Patrick Carroll, she coedited the Handbook of the Uncertain Self (Psychology Press, 2009). She is a teacher-scholar who conducts collaborative research with undergraduates. Much of her research has examined students’ reactions in challenging academic contexts, concentrating on self-doubt, achievement goals, academic procrastination, and behavioral strategies. Currently, her research primarily explores ways to create inclusive classroom dynamics in higher education, with a particular focus on productive discomfort.

    From the Foreword:

    “Promoting Inclusive Classroom Dynamics in Higher Education provides a pathway for faculty to help students develop agency, achieve higher levels of learning and reflection, and have a sense of belonging.”

    Tia Brown McNair, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director

    TRHT Campus Centers at the Association of American Colleges and Universities

    “Presenting research, strategies, and lived experiences in engaging and accessible ways, Kathryn C. Oleson invites us to reflect on ourselves as facilitators of learning, to recognize the necessity not just the benefits of more equitable and inclusive classrooms, and to dedicate ourselves to transforming our thinking and our practices. She provides an impressively wide range of conceptual frameworks, concrete approaches, and helpful examples that can guide the necessarily ongoing work of promoting inclusive classroom dynamics.”

    Alison Cook-Sather, Professor of Education and Director, Peace, Conflict and Social Justice concentration and Director, Teaching and Learning Institute, and co-author of Promoting Equity and Justice through Pedagogical Partnership (Stylus, forthcoming)

    Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges

    “This book offers essential, evidence-based strategies for faculty and students to foster transparent learning and teaching conditions, including the sense of belonging and the collaborative, intentional support for equitable learning that is so essential to students’ persistence and success in college.”

    Mary-Ann Winkelmes, executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning; and co-editor, Transparent Design in Higher Education Teaching and Leadership

    Brandeis University

    “Every new and seasoned faculty member who reads this book will make more intentional decisions in how they bring themselves into their classes and organize small group engagement. Faculty developers will rely on this book as an essential resource for the how and why of inclusive group dynamics in higher education.”

    Becky Wai-Ling Packard, Professor of Psychology and Education; author of Successful STEM Mentoring Initiatives for Underrepresented Students

    Mount Holyoke College