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Equity-Centered Syllabus Design

Girl in Wheelchair
Students Walking Home

"Through conscious choices about what authorial voices to focus on, intentionally designing communication expectations and power relationships in the classroom, using discussion to examine and oppose the forces of racism that exert influence on the field of study, and building continuous feedback and iteration into the design of the course itself, instructors can cultivate the conditions that can create constructive change." --Dr. Selfa Chew, Dr. Akil Houston, and Dr. Alisa Cooper in The Anti-Racist Discussion Pedagogy


This professional learning experience is designed for higher education faculty seeking to (re)design course syllabi with equity at the center. Guided by principles of anti-racism, culturally relevant, responsive, and sustaining pedagogies, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL), this opportunity for professional learning seeks to support faculty of all tenures, content areas, and contexts in conceptualizing syllabi as dynamic tools for inclusion and increased accessibility in the classroom. 

Questions addressed include:
  • What does it mean to enact an anti-racist and decolonizing approach to syllabus design?
  • How do I create a syllabus that is learner-focused rather than teacher-focused?
  • What are ways to get to know my students in order to be responsive curricularly and pedagogically to their backgrounds, interests, and needs?
  • How can I work to ensure that all of my students feel seen, heard, and valued through the readings, policies, assignments, and assessments that I include in my syllabus?
  • How can the language and tone of my syllabus "invite in" rather than "push out?

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