Inclusive Climate

Inclusive Climate Banner. Photo shows female scientist working in lab

Inclusive Climate environments and classrooms communicate that students are welcome, belong, and are part of the community, regardless of background (includes race, gender, socioeconomic status, ability/disability, etc.). It is important to support all students, especially if they are from a background that is negatively stereotyped in college settings. Below are some key terms to keep in mind for inclusive teaching.


  • Social Identity threat: The worry that they [student] will be viewed in terms of their social group stereotype and not as an individual. This anxiety or concern happens when a students' social group is underrepresented, negatively stereotyped, or devalued. 
  • Stereotype threat: A type of social identity threat. This happens when someone feels they are confirming a negative stereotype of a group they belong to.When students are placed in situations that may confirm a negative stereotype about a students' identity, students may experience increased stress, reduced working memory, and impaired performance. Click here for information on how to mitigate stereotype threat in the classroom. 
  • Implicit Bias: Our attitudes, beliefs, and associated stereotypes about groups of people. We are typically unaware or unconscious of these beliefs. Everyone has implicit biases. 
  • Microaggressions: Subtle, everyday, intentional and unintentional interactions that communicate a bias towards a historically marginalized group.

Quick tips on developing an inclusive climate:

  • Use materials (videos, readings, etc.) from individuals from diverse background, including gender, race, ability, disability, and other identities, within your course
  • Use diverse and counter-stereotypic images on course slides and other material.
  • Learn how to pronounce culturally diverse names in examples, word problems, and students
  • Communicate observance of religious holidays, school life conflict policy, etc.

To learn more about stereotype threat and implicit bias in higher education, watch this video below: