Being an inclusive instructor is an ongoing process that involves learning, mistakes, persistence, reflection, and a willingness to adapt teaching practices to a diverse student population.

What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching, p. 152


Over the last several years, CITLS launched and facilitated an initiative focused on fostering equitable and inclusive learning environments called the Inclusive Instructors Academy. These intensive experiences provided Lafayette faculty and staff members with opportunities to focus on specific goals to advance inclusion in their teaching and learning spaces, partner with a student to obtain observational feedback on their approaches, and explore the literature relevant to their areas of focus to enhance their practice. A version of this academy was also developed for departmental and program teams of four or five faculty members.

The Academy ran for eight semesters since fall 2020 and has involved three departmental teams as well as partnership with the Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM Education. Nearly 40 Lafayette faculty and staff members participated in the Inclusive Instructors Academies, with some participating twice, both individually and within a departmental team. Over 20 Lafayette student partners have supported these efforts.

Faculty and staff members focused on areas such as: 

  • Fostering a sense of belonging, 
  • Supporting students with invisible disabilities, 
  • Using gender inclusive language, 
  • Facilitating inclusive group work,
  • Integrating equitable assessments, 
  • Using social justice assignment or course design,
  • Integrating diverse content into course materials,
  • Implementing active learning, 
  • Using growth mindset language,
  • Getting to know learners, and 
  • Unveiling the hidden curriculum within the discipline. 

As the Academies conclude for the spring semester, CITLS recognizes both the Mechanical Engineering and Biology Departments for their engagement in this initiative. Since summer 2023, the team from Mechanical Engineering (Professors Rohan Prabhu, Ryan Rosario,  Dan Sabatino, and Brent Utter) has primarily focused on effective teamwork experiences, but has also explored general student engagement. Their focus inspired the creation of the student resource, Effective Teaming: A Resource Designed for and With Lafayette Students, which was co-created with the Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM education as well as CITLS student fellows and can be used in courses across disciplines. The Biology Department team (Professors Mike Butler, Eric Ho, Bob Kurt, and Elaine Reynolds) focused on equity-minded assessment this semester within a variety of courses, as well as student engagement. Their activities involved reconsidering the weight of high-stakes assessments and considering alternative assessments in addition to grading for learning and growth.

While not distinctly part of the Inclusive Instructors Academies, several new faculty members also obtained feedback on their inclusive teaching efforts and were observed by student partners using the Protocol for Advancing Inclusive Teaching Efforts (PAITE) and the Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework for assignment design. 

This work would not be possible without the efforts of student CITLS fellows including Wanos Bahiru ‘25, Rob Gillies ‘24, Samantha Greenberg ‘24, Grace Herchenroder, ‘24, Anica Kim ‘27, Sidharth Mahadeo ‘26, and Samantha Montague ‘26. 

We commend all faculty and staff members for engaging in these initiatives this semester as part of their ongoing journeys as educators to create more inclusive learning environments.