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Inclusive Classroom Initiative

UIC will offer living and lifelong learning environments that promote understanding and appreciation of identities.

A Mosaic for UIC Transformation  |  Goal 3

The Office of Diversity’s Inclusive Classroom Initiative (ICI) lives at the intersection of three key institutional diversity priorities at UIC: access, equity, and inclusion; student success; and teaching excellence. ICI is based on the understanding that effective, high-quality teachers understand both the academic discipline—what they are teaching—as well as the students that they teach—who they are teaching. They also take pedagogy seriously—how they are teaching. In its broadest sense, the Inclusive Classroom Initiative is designed to support faculty in intentionally constructing classroom environments which encourage the learning and overall well-being of all students at UIC.

The ICI consists of a series of e-learning modules developed by faculty content experts on topics that are relevant and responsive to the changing demographics of UIC’s student population (or responsive to the UIC context). While varying in content, each module focuses on common themes including building empathy for students, creating relevance and understanding of student challenges, and providing practical strategies faculty can use in their classrooms to support students. Research shows that students’ learning outcomes improve when faculty deliberately cultivate equitable learning environments where all students feel valued and welcomed in their identities1. The goal of ICI is to empower faculty with the knowledge and skills they need to create exactly such environments.

Faculty, like students, are balancing multiple demands on their time, often leading to stress2 and other negative outcomes. Given that thinking critically about pedagogy and making changes to teaching practices is an ongoing process, the ICI was designed to offer a variety of tips and tools faculty can use at any stage of this process. Whether you’re just starting to examine your own teaching practices or have been doing so for years, there will be something within these modules that you can incorporate into your practice. Faculty support our students every day and ICI was created to support faculty.

Most of the modules are stand-alone (some consist of two parts) and can be completed within one hour. All of them are highly interactive including animation, student videos, and other forms of engagement. All of the modules also include printable/downloadable PDFs of the strategies that will be discussed so you can refer back to them regularly. The ICI modules can be viewed in any order, but we encourage you to view them all. Sign up for the Office of Diversity listserv to stay up to date on new module releases.

For more on the research basis for inclusive teaching, see the University of Michigan’s “Center for Research on Learning and Teaching” at
Buckholdt and Miller (2013).

Our Modules Heading link

Get notified when new modules become available

Credits Heading link

Administrative Unit Leadership Former Vice Provost for the Office of Diversity Amalia Pallares
Associate Vice Provost for the Office of Diversity Charu Thakral
Design Team Associate Vice Provost for the Office of Diversity Charu Thakral
Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives Michelle Manno
Instructional Designers Kim Rivas
Cheryl McKearin
Art Director Hilary Short
Media Team Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives Michelle Manno
Storyline and Graphic Design Leads Hilary Short
Kyra Jones
Graphic Designers Alonzo Zamarron
Vy Bui
Abinash Mallick
Research Assistants Luisa Rollins
Frida Sanchez
Danny Lambouths III

These modules are made with Articulate 360, Storyline.

Please see individual module web pages for credits specific to that module.

Forthcoming Modules Heading link

  • Cultivating an Inclusive STEM Classroom

    Faculty Fellow: Dr. Shanon Reckinger

  • Developing a Disability Inclusive Toolbox

    Faculty Fellow: Kate Caldwell

  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

    Faculty Fellow: Kee Chan

  • Appreciating and Developing Linguistic Diversity

    Faculty Fellow: Kim Potowski

Our 2019–2020 Faculty Fellows Heading link

Dr. Kate Caldwell headshot

A theorist, methodologist, and empirical researcher, Dr. Kate Caldwell has a background in Disability Studies and interdisciplinary social sciences. She brings this expertise and her personal experience with disability to approaching complex issues where various fields intersect; facilitating dialogue across disciplines.

Dr. Kate Caldwell  |  Developing a Disability Inclusive Toolbox: A Disability Studies Approach to Active Learning and Student Engagement
Dr. Kee Chan headshot

Dr. Kee Chan is a passionate teacher of the science and management of health and wellness. Her teaching interest includes the intersection of science and strategic planning, financial analysis, public health management, and medical decision-making analysis. Dr. Chan researches the comparative analysis of new biomedical intervention and testing on improving population health and its impact on healthcare services delivery. Dr. Chan is an expert on developing mathematical models to determine time-saving and cost-effective strategies in improving public health. She participated in the Institute of Emerging Leadership for Online Learning organized by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and she is also certified as an instructional designer by the OLC.  Dr. Chan is an author of an upcoming textbook titled Advanced Management and Leadership in Population Health (publisher Jones and Bartlett Learning).

Dr. Kee Chan  |  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for Inclusivity, Diversity Engagement, and Accessibility (IDEA)
Dr. Leah Goodman headshot

Dr. Leah Goodman developed and teaches “Promoting Wellbeing”, a credit-bearing course which aims to support student wellness and academic success. She also teaches “Human Sexuality and Health Science”, and mentors undergraduate and graduate students. Her work at UIC focuses on the development of mental health and wellbeing supports. Leah serves as faculty advisor for the Mental Health and Disability Alliance, sits on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and is an Honors College Fellow. She is interested in exploring the ways we define and provide student support, and seeks to develop initiatives that promote wellbeing, inclusion, health, equity, and student success.

Dr. Leah Goodman  |  Supporting Student Wellbeing
Dr. Kimberly Potowski headshot

Dr. Kim Potowski is Professor in the Department of Hispanic & Italian Studies, with courtesy appointments in Latin American and Latino Studies and in Curriculum and Instruction. She directs UIC’s Heritage Spanish program and is the founding director of its summer study abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her research focuses on connections between language and identity. She has authored and edited over 12 books as well as several Spanish textbooks. Her advocacy for the value of dual language education in promoting bilingualism and academic achievement was the focus of her 2013 TEDx talk “No child left monolingual.”

Dr. Kimberly Potowski  |  Appreciating and Developing Linguistic Diversity
Dr. Shanon Reckinger Headshot

Dr. Shanon Reckinger has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from University of Colorado Boulder with a research focus in numerical methods, computational fluid dynamics, and ocean modeling.  Post-PhD, she received an MS degree in Computer Science Education at Stanford University and participated in the Faculty-In-Residence program at Google.  At UIC, she teaches in the Computer Science department and continues her research in CS Education, particularly in the area of inclusive pedagogy design, strategies for improving problem solving skills, and interventions to increase retention.

Dr. Shanon Reckinger  |  Cultivating an Inclusive STEM Classroom