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This review encourages instructors to consider how the intellectual substance and design of their courses may or may not contribute to racial equity. Although this guide focuses on racial equity, it can be adapted to address other areas; naming the area of interest, however, is important rather than trying to tackle all inequities at once.

The questions in this document are intended to invite you to reflect on your teaching and stimulate our ongoing thinking about equity, not to offer prescriptions.

The six questions below encourage you to reflect on your course – its content and materials, the questions it raises, and how you want students to engage with those questions.

Not all of the questions here will be relevant for all courses. Consider which themes and questions most resonate with your teaching and how you want to address racial equity in your classes.

Course Materials
How course materials are being integrated
How the integration of course materials changes the substance of the course
How the changes impact the ways students engage with the course

Do course materials represent a range of racial/ethnic experiences?

  • In voices of authors, guest speakers, etc.?
  • In subjects of readings, studies?
  • In examples/case studies presented?


How does the course handle authors or subjects that are part of the literature or canon of the field but that are racially problematic? How does the course treat white-normative or racially hostile materials and practices of the field?

  • Does the course include such materials?
  • If so, does the course raise questions about those materials and/or use them to ask questions about the field?
  • Does the course interrogate the racialized norms/history of the field?
  • Does the course consider the field’s research practices, including who is or has been studied and the power dynamics research may involve?


In what ways are considerations of race integrated into the organization and intellectual focus of the class?

  • Does race come in during a separate unit or is it woven throughout many or all weeks?
  • Does consideration of race shape the essential questions and substance the course explores?


How does the course ask students to understand the intellectual value of diversity and/or to consider relevant racist structures and/or assumptions?

  • Are there readings or activities that encourage students to see how thinking about diversity enhances their understandings of the subject and/or the field?
  • Are there readings or activities that encourage students to consider structural inequities in relevant institutions and/or systems of racism?
  • Are there readings or activities that encourage students to examine assumptions about different racial/ethnic groups? to consider how stereotypes operate? to challenge essentialist notions of identity? to question whiteness as the norm?


How does the course emphasize the value of diverse lived experiences?

  • How does the course acknowledge students’ diverse experiential knowledge, backgrounds, and perspectives that come from that?
  • How are students’ lived experiences valued without a) asking students to be representatives of their communities, and b) devaluing the ideas of students who may come from different communities?
  • Does the course ask students to investigate real-world problems in diverse communities?
  • Does the course prepare students to value and engage with diverse populations?


How does the course facilitate student reflection on race and their own learning about it?

  • Is this done explicitly, though assignments, or is it assumed?
  • Does the course help students to reflect on their own identities and how those may influence their interpretations?
  • Does the course help students to reflect on power differentials based on their identities – not only racial or ethnic but also, in some fields, professional standing?

This course review process targets the intellectual substance, focus, and materials of a course that contributes to a racially equitable class. How we run the class, regardless of substance, invites additional questions that are explored in other CETLI programs:

  • Inclusive and equitable pedagogies – e.g. activities that emphasize student belonging, highly structured class time and assignments, intentionally designed collaborative work, clear expectations, making the relevance of the study clear, and/or assignments that emphasize student growth and convey high expectations for all.
  • Discussing difference – e.g. making your classroom a place where students can talk about race and, as relevant, other challenging topics.