Diversity Toolkit

Introduction: Faculty Toolkit for Engaging Campus Diversity

This toolkit has been designed for the use of all First Year Experience (FYE) course coordinators and instructors (MUSE, Science 2, Humanities Honors, ENG) in order to support the Inclusive Excellence student learning outcome (SLO). This particular SLO states that by the end of the FYE course, "students will demonstrate a beginning ability to participate actively and civilly in class discussions, recognizing how their own and others' identities influence their interactions and how to bridge differences."

Although the toolkit was designed for these particular courses and instructors in mind, we encourage any instructor who wishes to prioritize Inclusive Excellence in their classrooms to check out and adapt the resources available here.

By implementing the activities and assignments contained within this toolkit, we hope that students will demonstrate a beginning ability with the following five skills (linked to Bloom's taxonomy):

  1. Recognize how their own and others' identities influence their interactions (application to analysis);
  2. Listen to others' views and analyze these in relation to their own reflexive listening (analysis);
  3. Take on and try to understand multiple perspectives different from their own (analysis: perspective-taking);
  4. Skillfully navigate uncomfortable and controversial dialogues and reflect on these dialogues (application: dialogue/communication); and
  5. Formulate thoughtful, high-order questions that challenge their own preconceptions and original views (analysis to evaluation).


What You Can Find in the Toolkit

This toolkit contains samples of the following resources for meeting the SLO and strengthening diversity-related content:

  • Ice-breakers and team-building exercises
  • Classroom activities
  • Assignments and essay questions

Moreover, you will find an annotated bibliography of suggested readings, as well as links to on-line resources.

These components can be used in small seminar sections and adapted for large lecture sections, as well as for multiple disciplines (Social Sciences, Humanities, STEM). The toolkit is intended to accompany an increase in the range of co-curricular "Student Success Programs" related to diversity and targeted especially for freshmen and other new students.

About the Author

Dr. Magdalena L. Barrera is an Assistant Professor in the department of Mexican American Studies. She joined the faculty of SJSU in the fall of 2008, after completing a three-year post-doctoral fellowship teaching FYE courses at Stanford University. Her expertise in diversity, pedagogy and FYE courses led to her appointment as the creator of this toolkit.

Dr. Barrera would like to thank her SJSU colleagues who generously shared their pedagogical strategies and course materials: Dr. Marcos Pizarro, Mexican American Studies, Dr. Tanya Bahkru, Women's Studies; Dr. Nancy Markowitz, Education; Dr. Debra David, Associate Dean of FYRST Programs; and Hyon Chu Yi-Baker, Director of the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center. She also thanks her colleagues at other institutions for their support and materials: Dr. Jennifer Barker at Eastern Tennessee State University; Dr. Kathryn Mathers of Duke University; and Mariatte Denman, Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University.

Finally, Dr. Barrera would appreciate any feedback or suggestions, especially if you have developed a classroom activity or assignment that has been especially effective at increasing diversity awareness among your students. Please contact her at magdalena.barrera@sjsu.edu.