Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Inclusivity Glossary

Common Terms

Inclusivity – Is a practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging. An inclusive environment promotes a level of support and commitment from others so that you can do your best work. Inclusive spaces respect and promote the diversity of the participants.

Diversity – Diversity in education, and the pursuit of an inclusive environment, encompasses acceptance and respect for differences. Diversity is recognizing that each individual is unique, where dimensions of diversity can be seen (and not seen) through race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

Intersectionality - Is a concept coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to describe the ways in which oppressive and marginalizing institutions such as: racism, classism, ableism, sexism, and many other “isms” are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another.

Communities of Difference – In the educational context, these are groups and spaces that work to sustain a community and include critical interrogation of difference as the rich substance of community life and an invitation for engagement that is relentlessly democratic, diverse, participatory, and always attentive to equity and parity. (Fine, Weis, and Powell; 1997)

Educational Equity and Excellence – The assurance that all students will receive impartial treatment and access to all programs, resources, and curriculum. Educators who practice educational equity and excellence in the classroom, campus, and community are providing a strong foundation for future success for students.

Institutionalize – The process, which translates an organization’s mission, policy, and vision thereby integrating a practice or activity as a norm within the organization or culture. In the case of Diversity and Inclusivity, working to institutionalize educational equity and excellence.

Cultural Awareness - Knowledge gained through one's own perceptions or by means of information. It involves the ability to stand back from ourselves and become aware of our own cultural values, beliefs and perceptions and how they influence our interactions with others.

Bias - Is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging observations or experiences by standards inherent to one's own culture. People can be consciously committed to egalitarianism, and deliberately work to behave without prejudice, yet still possess hidden negative prejudices or stereotypes. Therefore, we may believe we see and treat people as equals, however hidden biases may still influence our perceptions and actions.

Outreach – is a process of actively engaging in, and working to, provide services to people who might not otherwise have access to those services. It is important for an educator to be flexible, in other words they are meeting those in need of outreach services at the locations where those in need are (classroom, office hours, access to books, technology, recourses). In addition to delivering services, outreach has an educational role, raising the awareness of existing services for all students.

Transparent Communication - Communication that is open, honest and objective and allows for disagreement and negotiation of meaning and understanding. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. This can be seen through syllabi, assignment description and scaffolding, grading criteria, and feedback to students about their progress and work.

Co-Curricular Partnerships – Partnerships that support formal and informal “out-of-class” activities and programs that provide integrated curriculum-related learning and character building experiences.

Microaggressions - a subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other nondominant group that is often unintentional or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype: microaggressions such as "I don't see you as black.". (Microaggressions in the Classroom), (Recognizing Microaggressions and the Messages They Send


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