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MCC Daily Tribune

Encouraging Classroom Environments and Syllabi That Are Inclusive to All

Greetings! Our department attended several sessions from the 2020 Suicide Prevention Symposium earlier this month, and we wanted to share with you some take-aways. Below are some reminders/tips for supporting your students, which may be helpful as you begin to finalize plans for Spring courses:

  • Create classroom environments and syllabi that are inclusive to all
    • Introduce yourself with your pronouns
      • Normalize this and invite others to do the same if they would like to, however, do not require it
    • Consider marketing your classroom as a “mindful classroom”
      • For example, you may choose to start each class with a short, optional breathing exercise to teach students to balance the stress response with mindful breath work
    • Include a statement about commitment to inclusive excellence on your syllabi
      • Highlight striving efforts to deliver classroom support that promotes social justice
    • Grow awareness surrounding common micro aggressions and ways to avoid them
      • Avoid scheduling exams or projects on cultural holidays
      • Encourage students to work on projects that explore their own identity
      • Recognize the role or impact of race, and explicitly recognize that not all students have the same experience
      • Commit to correctly pronouncing both familiar and unfamiliar student names
    • Consider adding a syllabus statement on wellness and success
      • Normalize that stress is going to happen
      • Emphasize that learning is also about how we grow and develop as humans
      • Syllabus example statement given: “Success in this course depends heavily on your personal health and well-being. Recognize that stress is an expected part of the college experience, and it often can be compounded by unexpected setbacks or life changes outside the classroom. Your other instructors and I encourage you to reframe challenges to think of them as opportunities to grow through. Reflect on your role in taking care of yourself throughout the semester, before the demands of exams and projects reach their peak. Please feel free to reach out to me about any difficulty you may be having that may impact your performance in this course as soon as it occurs and before it becomes unmanageable. Lastly, I strongly encourage you to contact the many other support services on campus that stand ready to assist you.”
        • Consider adding an additional blurb about MCC Counseling Center services, and ways to contact the office

We thank you for your continued commitment not only to supporting students with their academics, but also in promoting positive mental health and coping within the MCC community. We hope you all have a safe and restful holiday season!

-Counseling Center and Disability Services office

Morgan Kennell
Counseling Center & Disability Services