A course syllabus is the foundation of a transformative classroom experience for both the instructor and the students. Course materials that reflect a diversity of thought and experience can lead to robust discussions and a deeper understanding of learning objectives.
It can be challenging to navigate the many articles, books, and multimedia options to ensure your syllabus has an inclusive and varied representation of perspectives. As you begin the process of exploring new course materials, consider the following reflection questions and equity-minded teaching practices.
Check out other syllabi for information and inspiration!
Some ways to think about your syllabus as a whole:
There are some tools that can help you assess you syllabus:
Who is on the syllabus:
Goal: By including diverse authors on a syllabus, students connect to the material and to class discussions because some will see their own success represented and others will see that success can be shared among many different kinds of people.
Some questions to ask for each reading you assign as you construct and revise your syllabus:
Why was it chosen?
Goal: By examining why something was chosen, we can identify places where more inclusive material can be used and move away from “we’ve always just used this.” This can also identify where there is a lack of diversity in your field.
It can be a challenge to works by diverse authors in your field. Some tips:
Your professional organization likely has an "Emerging Voices" or similar round table. Attend a meeting at the next conference, reach out to their chair or organizer, and follow their social media channels to keep current.
Subject-specific resources can be found online. Librarians suggest the following:
Did we miss one? Send your suggestions to your subject liaison!
Brandeis Library is here to support your teaching, and we strive to develop collections that support the curriculum of the University. As you consider diversifying your syllabi, please suggest additions to our collections.
Subject specialist librarians are available through Brandeis Library to work with you on search strategies and to help you obtain the materials you've selected.
Whether you are creating a course from scratch or revising an existing course, we are here to support you as you design a more diverse and inclusive syllabus.
The lists below points to some of our library databases which include content from underrepresented groups or locations. This does not represent the extent of our collections; you may want to browse our full list of databases to find sources in a specific area.