Diversity and inclusion statements

A course statement on diversity/inclusion can be an effective way to communicate expectations and establish norms within the class. It proactively supports diversity. Even in classes without explicit diversity-related content, a diversity statement is valuable in addressing implicit bias and other issues the instructor may not be aware of.

They can be part of the syllabus, displayed at the top of the Canvas home page, and discussed on a slide in class.

Below are example statements from instructors in the college, campus resources, and resources from other institutions.

Natural Sciences

Fundamentals of Biology II (LIFE 121), Kristi Montooth and Joe Dauer

The following was included as the second line on their Canvas homepage and within their syllabus.

Statement on Diversity
"Our classroom is a safe and inclusive place for all. Every individual is valued, has the capability to succeed and has something to offer the class. Know that we are always here for you and that our doors are always open."

Fundamentals of Biology II (LIFE 121), Chad Brassil

"All students are welcome in this course. All students shall exhibit respect for each other so that we can foster an engaged learning environment. Please communicate barriers to learning, and I will strive to remove them. Together, let us foster an inclusive learning environment."

Fundamentals of Biology II Lab (LIFE 121L), Tim Suhr

Inclusion Statement
"All life 121 Lab spaces are inclusive places. Every individual is valued, has the capability to succeed and has something to offer this class and the University of Nebraska as a whole. Though our in-classroom discussions must stay focused on lab instruction, biological principles and outcomes; we are here to listen and assist you as needed, and as our abilities allow in all areas. Our doors are always open. If you ever have an issue, concern, or any matter you wish to discuss during the course of the semester, please contact the lab manager (Tim Suhr) as early as possible."


Social Sciences

Campus Level

Teaching at UNL, Canvas Course

"An inclusive learning environment is where diverse perspectives are recognized and respected. Conversations in this course must be respectful and civil. According to our Student Code of Conduct, speech that is abusive, harassing, intimidating, or coercive is prohibited. Students who engage in such speech will be asked to leave the classroom and further disciplinary actions may be taken."

Other institutions

Rupert W. Nacoste (North Carolina State University)

Taking On Diversity. Prometheus Books. Amherst, NY. page 89 and 94.

"Relationships have rules. And that applies to our interactions in Psych 311. There will be class periods where I will ask you, the class, to give me an answer to a question. During such a time, the rule is that when I call on one of your classmates, that person gets to say what's on their mind. This classroom will be our safe space for exploring what is going on in the social world. No one gets to judge, and try to shut down, another person's statement; no one. If anyone tries to shout down in judgment another classmate, that person will have to deal with my wrath. None of you wants that.

"We are at a university and that means we expect to hear points of view that conflict with our own. We don't all operate in the social world in the same ways. So understand that your opinions of "how things work" are yours and not the god-given truth. That means you have no standing to tell someone else they are wrong. Hearing your classmates different ways of operating in the social world will be a big part of our class throughout the semester. Sometimes what you hear will make you feel challenged. When that happens, sit with that and learn.

"We will have open and honest discussions of race, racial interactions, racial misunderstandings and confusions. To make our discussions authentic, we will not attack each other. And we will pledge not to take any person's name outside of this classroom. Leave here and talk about what was said, so that you can understand it better. But leave here (the classroom) with no person's name (except mine) on your lips. In other words, who says what in here, stays in here."