UNC Chapel Hill Professor Uses Inclusive Teaching to Make Class More Fair

June 11, 2018

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A University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill professor redesigned her class to help close achievement gaps between minority students and white students as well as first-generation students and continuing-generation students. Her method, inclusive teaching, was recently featured by The Chronicle of Higher Education and is taking off among her Chapel Hill colleagues and beyond.

Kelly Hogan, associate professor and assistant dean of instructional innovation in the College of Arts & Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill, learned a dismaying statistic from a colleague doing research on large lecture classes in 2010. Latinx students were twice as likely to earn Ds and Fs in her Biology 101 class as their white peers, and black students were almost five times as likely.

Knowing that low grades in her introductory-level lecture course could drive students away and contribute to underrepresentation in STEM fields, she decided to make some major changes.

Hogan began by implementing techniques from active learning, such as a flipped classroom, where focus is on the students performing activities rather than the professor delivering a lecture.

She then took these methods even further, devising an approach called inclusive teaching, which is centered on two main objectives:

  • A highly structured course, with clear instructions so all students know what to do before, during, and after class, and
  • Class discussions facilitated so every student can participate.
Kelly Hogan explains inclusive teaching at a Carolina Conversations workshop
UNC Chapel Hill professor Kelly Hogan explains inclusive teaching at a Carolina Conversations workshop (Photo used with permission)

Hogan teamed up with Viji Sathy, who teaches a large introductory statistics course in the department of psychology and neurosciences, to disseminate the inclusive teaching approach. They’ve delivered workshops at Chapel Hill and elsewhere, including a recent one at neighboring Durham Technical Community College. They also provide instructions for Structuring the Classroom for Inclusive Teaching on UNC’s Center for Faculty Excellence website.

—Carly O’Connell

At a Glance

Member Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Initiative: Inclusive Teaching

Goal: Close achievement gaps between underserved students and their peers, especially in large lecture classes that serve as gateways into STEM fields.

Become a member: As a member of ACE, you join nearly 1,800 organizations that collectively promote, protect and advocate for students, faculty and administrators in higher education. ACE is the most visible and influential higher education association in the nation, and we are at the center of federal policy debates concerning legislation that affects campuses across the country. See more on the ACE website.

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