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“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” – George Orwell 1984


Individual differences (e.g., personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences (e.g., race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, and ability as well as cultural, political, religious, or other affiliations).


The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect—in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions. 


The creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs that are capable of closing the achievement gaps in student success and completion.

Stereotype Threat

Stereotype threat refers to being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, negative stereotype about one’s group. This term was first used by Steele and Aronson (1995) who showed in several experiments that Black college freshmen and sophomores performed more poorly on standardized tests than White students when their race was emphasized. When race was not emphasized, however, Black students performed better and equivalently with White students. The results showed that performance in academic contexts can be harmed by the awareness that one’s behavior might be viewed through the lens of racial stereotypes. Since that time, researchers have found this effect to be true across multiple identities.


Review this list and consider whether there are enhancements or changes you can make to reduce stereotype threat.

Resources: This website contains a variety of resources for how to avoid stereotype threat in the classroom:; To read more about stereotype threat click here.


The term “microaggression” was used by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”


Take a look at this chart, from an article in American Psychologist, linked below, then consider the following questions:

1.) Are there times when someone has made a comment unwittingly that felt like a microagression toward you or someone you know? Were you able to respond? Or if you were not able at the time, how would you respond?

2.) Have you caught yourself saying something that could be a microaggression? How did you handle it?

3.) How might you catch yourself, or create a climate that allows your students to point it out if it happens


We all makes mistakes, and we have all been hurt or watched others be hurt or offended. It is helpful to have thought through responses and strategies ahead of time. Check out this guide for Speaking out Against Bias and Prejudice  from the University of Missouri .

Short Videos: What is a Microaggression?I, Too, Am Harvard

Articles: American Psychologist: Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life  ; The Atlantic: Microaggressions Matter

 Know how your own background influences your teaching. 

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Learning: What Do I Need To Know?

Changing: How Do I Get Started?

Assessing: Is it Making an Impact?