Inclusive Excellence

CFCD is committed to supporting faculty in the creation of vibrant and welcoming learning environments. An essential part of this effort is ensuring that students of all backgrounds feel thoroughly included in the classroom and in the project of the overall course. As with any area of teaching, this is a goal best pursued through honest reflection and ongoing, constructive, and ever-widening conversation.

Our work in the area of inclusive excellence takes several forms:

  • The orientation for new faculty includes sessions (as well as follow-up meetings during the year) that focus on ways of achieving inclusive excellence in the classroom.
  • Each semester, we run one or more reading groups (more info here, under “Reading Groups”), which allow faculty and staff the opportunity to discuss important issues related to race and identity, while also linking these conversations to the nuts and bolts of pedagogy.
  • Every year we organize at least one event that addresses these issues in a public forum. In past semesters, topics have included implicit bias; managing classroom discussion on issues of race, gender, sex, and religion; and working with under-represented students in the classroom.
    When possible, we co-sponsor an evening event and community dinner with students organizations each year.

If you are interested in one or more of these efforts, please get in touch with us. We are always open to new initiatives and fresh perspectives on ways of moving the conversation forward. We also welcome suggested readings to add to the bibliography below.


Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People – Mahzarin R. Banaji & Anthony Greenwald

Mindset – Carol Dweck (Lots of excellent links to shorter media pieces and activities on that page)

Who Gets to Graduate? – Paul Tough, New York Times

 See No Bias – Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post (slightly older)

Interventions for Improving Physics Teaching – Lauren Aguilar, Greg Walton & Carl Wieman, Physics Today (These are general principles that can be applied widely, it just happens to be in a physics education journal.)

Eight Actions to Reduce Racism in College Classrooms – Shaun R. Harper & Charles H.F. Davis III, Academe 

Multicultural Advising in an Increasingly Diverse Academic World– Linda Huff and Blane Harding, Nacada 

Further Reading

Cohen, G. L., Garcia, J., Apfel, N., & Master, A. (2006). “Reducing the racial achievement gap: A social-psychological intervention.” Science, 313 (5791), 1307-1310.

Miyake, A., Kost-Smith, L. E., Finkelstein, N. D., Pollock, S. J., Cohen, G. L., & Ito, T. A. (2010). “Reducing the gender achievement gap in college science: A classroom study of values affirmation.” Science, 330 (6008), 1234-1237.

Harackiewicz, J. M., Canning, E. A., Tibbetts, Y., Giffen, C. J., Blair, S. S., Rouse, D. I., & Hyde, J. S. (2014). “Closing the social class achievement gap for first-generation students in undergraduate biology.” Journal of Educational Psychology, 106 (2), 375.

Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). “Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed.” Educational Psychologist, 47 (4), 302-314.

Leslie, S. J., Cimpian, A., Meyer, M., & Freeland, E. (2015). “Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines.” Science, 347 (6219), 262-265.

Aronson, J., Fried, C. B., & Good, C. (2002). “Reducing the effects of stereotype threat on African American college students by shaping theories of intelligence.” Journal of Experimental Social  Psychology, 38 (2), 113-125.

Paunesku, D., Walton, G. M., Romero, C., Smith, E. N., Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). “Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement.” Psychological Science, 0956797615571017.

Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2011). “A brief social-belonging intervention improves academic and health outcomes of minority students.” Science, 331 (6023), 1447-1451.

Walton, G. M., Logel, C., Peach, J. M., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2015). “Two brief interventions to mitigate a ‘chilly climate’ transform women’s experience, relationships, and achievement in engineering.” Journal of Educational Psychology, 107 (2), 468.

Stephens, Nicole , MarYam G. Hamedani, Mesmin Destin, Vida Manzo and Sarah S.M. Townsend. 2015. “A difference-education intervention equips first-generation students to thrive in the face of stressful college situations.” Psychological Science. 26 (10): 1556-1566.

Stephens, Nicole , MarYam G. Hamedani and Mesmin Destin. 2014. “Closing the social-class achievement gap: A difference-education intervention improves first-generation students’ academic performance and all students’ college transition.” Psychological Science. 25 (4): 943-953.

Yeager, D. S., Purdie-Vaughns, V., Garcia, J., Apfel, N., Brzustoski, P., Master, A., … & Cohen, G. L. (2014). “Breaking the cycle of mistrust: Wise interventions to provide critical feedback across the racial divide.” Journal of Experimental Psychology, 143 (2), 804.

Cohen, G. L., Steele, C. M., & Ross, L. D. (1999). “The mentor’s dilemma: Providing critical feedback across the racial divide.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25 (10), 1302-1318.