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Creating an Inclusive Syllabus: Reflecting on Your Syllabus

Resources for developing inclusive syllabi

Questions to Consider as You Reflect

From The University of Kansas Creating an Inclusive Syllabus

  • Who is represented in the readings in terms of topics covered. Is there a reason why one group or another is not represented or represented frequently? 
  • Who is represented in the readings in terms of authors? Is there a reason why one group or another is not represented or represented frequently?
  • Do texts support deficit models that blame marginalized groups for the inequality they experience? Can asset-based reading and readings that address institutional and systemic discrimination replace or complement deficit model readings? 
  • Can course topics and content be adjusted to speak to diversity and inclusion? Can examples used to illustrate concepts, theories, or techniques also present a variety of identities, cultures, and worldviews?

From Tufts The Syllabus as a Tool for Setting a Climate

  • Why do I select the content I do?
  • What assumptions have I made about the learners in my class?
  • Do I use examples and text throughout that are representative of my students?
  • Do I encourage and present alternative perspectives?
Survey Your Own Course


Use the Inclusion by Design worksheet (created by Ed Brantmeier, Andreas Broscheid, and Carl S. Moore) to review:

  1. The context and design of your course.
  2. The “text” of your syllabus and course design.
  3. And the subtext of your syllabus
Syllabus Challenge for Inclusive Practices from Kim A. Case, PhD.


Visit Dr. Case's website to sign up and receive the Syllabus Challenge toolkit with checklists, reflection prompts, videos, assignments, example syllabi, and more!

"[The] Syllabus Challenge helps you take your syllabus and course to the next level for inclusive practices and increasing sense of belonging. The first cues of welcome and affirmation come from your syllabus. Why not make the most of this central document to get marginalized and under-represented students off to the to best possible start in your course?"

Checklist for Designing an Inclusive Syllabus


A fan of checklists? The Checklist for Designing an Inclusive Syllabus was adapted and updated from Mt. Holyoke's checklist and is designed to help you reevaluate and guide your course priorities through an inclusive lens. Sections include:

  • Course Policies and Values
  • Vision and Goal Statement
  • What and How Students Will Learn
  • Inclusive and Supportive Course Policies
  • Rhetoric
  • Readability and Accessibility
  • Inclusion and Subtext
  • Sources, Readings, and Resources
Self-Assessment Tool for Instructors from the University of Kansas


KU Syllabus ToolGoals in completing an assessment using the tool include:

  • To further discourse about diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching,
  • To identify strong points as well as weaknesses and gaps in coverage of diversity, and
  • To improve course syllabi and make our university more inclusive to all students.

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