Diversity and Inclusion

Four key terms for you to be familiar with as you think about your course design, teaching methods, and assessment practices are included below. These definitions and terms are identified and shared by the NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation

  • Diversity: Diversity is demography and often representational. It is a complex interplay of social identities and issues
  • Equity: Fairness and parity in distribution of resources based on historical and contemporary differentials that mitigate participation in society.
  • Inclusion: The degree to which diversity is embedded, integrated, and involved.
  • Belonging: Operationalized when individuals are considered part of the constitutional foundation of an organization or institution. Belonging is achieved when individuals have the ability to critique and hold an institution responsible for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion

For more information about Diversity and Inclusion at NYUAD, please contact Fatiah Touray, Senior Director of Inclusion and Equity.

The NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation is a powerful resource for NYU Abu Dhabi faculty. View a list of key terminology related to diversity and inclusion across the NYU Global Network.
The Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning would also like to highlight this important statement from Dr. Lisa Coleman, SVP, Global Inclusion, and Strategic Innovation on Protests and Anti-Black Racism

Including Student Voices in the Classroom

The diversity of NYUAD’s student body provides great potential for learning from the wide range of experiences, beliefs, and backgrounds unique to each learner. By conscious inclusion practices, you can help unlock the learning potential of this diversity in your classroom. Watch this video to learn more about how you can create a classroom environment in which students feel comfortable sharing knowledge and learning from one another.

A Faculty Toolkit for Digital Inclusion has been developed in the context of COVID-19 remote instruction. The lessons and content apply regardless of the teaching delivery mode. It is meant to provide greater inclusive literacy and to support the needs of our diverse learners. As noted on the website:

We provide flexible teaching strategies to address instructor bias and to mitigate the challenges that students may encounter, towards the goal of ensuring that all students can successfully meet course learning goals.

Karen Jackson-Weaver, Associate Vice President, Global Faculty Engagement and Innovation Advancement and Chandani Patel, Director, Global Diversity Education and Training

Diversity and Inclusion for NYUAD Learning

Diversity enhances learning, but also differences between the backgrounds and identities of faculty and students can pose barriers to learning. When students feel isolated and alienated in class, when they feel they do not belong, it impedes engagement and trust in the professor, which in turn diminishes learning. This happens when students are made to feel invisible or exoticized.

Sanger & Gleason 2020

Diversity at NYUAD

Diversity in pedagogy, curricula, and student identities helps enable the critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving competencies required to impart impactful learning at NYUAD.

  • Diversity in our student body involves all aspects of identity and experience, including nationality, race, ethnicity, language, gender, sexuality, value system, socio-economic context, family structure, age, ability, educational background, and learning styles
  • Diversity of faculty members - found in the personalities, backgrounds, and teaching approaches

Generation Z Learners

  • They have more access to more information than the generations before them
  • They expect to be fully engaged and to be a part of the learning process themselves
  • They embrace social learning environments
  • They want to be hands-on and directly involved in the learning process
  • They tend to be more career-focused earlier on in their college careers
  • They absorb information in short visual bursts, like Snapchat, Vine, or YouTube
  • The Class of 2022 is 389 of the world’s best students, a diverse group of young men and women representing 84 nationalities and speaking 64 languages
  • Almost all of them were born after 2000

Eight Strategies for Inclusive Teaching

  1. Proactively learn about your environment, especially students’ prior educational contexts
  2. Signal your confidence in the potential of each student
  3. Transparency: be explicit about expectations and strategies for success
    1. Be explicit about your expectations 
    2. Provide advice, promote resources, and self-help strategies
    3. Consider aspects of your course that might be particularly non-intuitive
  4. Use varied teaching techniques and formats
    1. Integrate verbal, visual, and textual representations
    2. Mix-up learning activities and modes of expression
    3. Encourage peer-to-peer learning
  5. Practice inclusive assessment techniques 
    1. Vary assessment formats
    2. Don’t let the grade speak for itself – offer direct, constructive feedback
    3. Recognize possible barriers to inter-cultural communication
    4. Consider untimed exams
    5. Provide opportunities for do-overs
    6. Minimize unconscious bias with rubrics and blind grading
    7. Reflect on whether you are grading new or prior knowledge 
  6. Avoid projecting your professional goals and learning preferences on students
  7. Represent diversity in syllabi and course content
    1. Create opportunities for students to draw on personal identities
    2. Avoid or explain culturally specific references
    3. Be inclusive in authors, references, and illustrations
  8. Reflect, learn, and listen - be conscious and critical of your goals as an educator

Source: Diversity and Inclusion in Global Higher Education: Lessons from Across Asia, Edited by Catherine Shea Sanger, and Nancy W. Gleason (Palgrave Press, January 2020)

Additional Inclusion Resources on Diversity and Inclusion in Curriculum and Classroom

Global Inclusion and Diversity — NYU’s Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation provides a range of resources for promoting and supporting inclusion at the University.

Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely — Rice University’s Center for Teaching Excellence offers comprehensive guidance on ensuring an inclusive online learning environment, especially during a time of crisis for students.

What Two Students Want You to Know About Inclusive TeachingFaculty Focus offers a student perspective.

Inclusion by Design (PDF) is a research-based framework for developing an inclusive syllabus.

Gender Inclusive Guidelines offers advice on using gender-inclusive/non-sexist language (University of Pittsburgh’s Gender, Sexuality. and Women’s Studies Program).

A Syllabus’ Worth of Difference suggests “points of entry” for making a syllabus more inclusive (Georgetown University)

In The Danger of a Single Story, novelist Chimamanda Adichie warns about the danger of a singular representation of groups of people. This is useful to understand the importance of diversifying course content.

Diversify Your Syllabus — Resources and Readings for Your Syllabus, University of Minnesota Libraries. This website breaks down resources by discipline.