Teaching for Diverse Populations


As colleges and universities become increasingly more diverse, instructors must understand the needs and behaviors of a broad range of students and develop techniques for working effectively with them. The first three links below present general strategies for teaching diverse populations. The succeeding links provide information on specific student populations: women; students of color; students with disabilities; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students; adult learners; and international students.


General Resources

Creating Inclusive College Classrooms,” Shari Saunders and Diana Kardia. (University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching).
This article details specific strategies for creating a classroom climate in which all students feel safe, supported, respected, and equally valued. Covers such issues as inclusive course content, managing classroom activities, and dealing with problematic assumptions.

Illinois Association for Cultural Diversity (Western Illinois University).
Annotated bibliography of links to online courses, websites,  and videos on cultural diversity, multicultural education, and traditionally underrepresented groups.

Recognizing and Addressing Cultural Variations in the Classroom ( Carnegie Mellon University , Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence Intercultural Communication Center ).
An online handbook for instructors to help them deal more effectively with today’s diverse classroom populations. Describes the areas of possible culture clash in U.S. classrooms and offers suggestions for instructors in areas such as expectations, skill development, teaching practices, and grading.

Back to top



Michigan State University’s Women’s Resource Center
Offers a wide-ranging body of resources and links at MSU and elsewhere related to women at all levels in higher education.

Undergraduate Women in Science and Engineering: Providing Academic Support,” Susan Montgomery and Martha Cohen Barrett. (University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Occasional Paper # 8, 1997). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Presents research findings on factors that influence the educational experience of undergraduate women in science and engineering, and makes suggestions for enhancing their support and success.

Women’s Studies Online Resources (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).
Contains links to high-quality web sites focusing on women’s studies or women’s issues, including the WMST-L File Collection, an international email forum on women’s studies teaching, research, and program administration; the Center for Women and Information Technology; and much more.

Women in the Currriculum: Introductory Bibliography for Curriculum Transformation compiled by Sara Coulter for the National Center for Curriculum Transformation Resources on Women (NCCTRW).
A 15-page online resource for academics interested in curricular revisions to reflect feminist pedagogies:

A Guide to Feminist Pedagogy” (Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, written by seven graduate students and one CFT assistant director).
Presents a philosophy, a theory of teaching and learning that integrates feminist values and understandings “to inform a deliberate application in specific classrooms.”

Back to top


Students of Color

Perceptions of Faculty Behavior by Students of Color,” Mark Chesler. (University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Occasional Paper #7, 1997). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Reports results of 15 focus groups with undergraduate students of color addressing issues of faculty behavior and classroom climate. Suggests ways faculty can achieve a more equitable classroom environment.

Back to top


Latino/Latina American Students

Latino Intersections (Dartmouth College)
An online resource in Latino/Latina studies. Offers 5 areas: academic journal, students' work, news and events, resource center, and bulletin board. Resources (links on left) include teaching materials for Latino issues, syllabi for courses in Latina Studies, lists of media and books, and more.

Encrucijada Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2003)
An issue of this journal from Latino Intersections devoted to scholarly papers presented at the Latinos 2000 conference at Dartmouth College. Several papers are on the conference theme of "Latinos and Learning".

American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education
An association dedicated to improving educational success for Hispanics. See especially their online publications.

Back to top


Asian-American and Pacific Islander Students

"Asian-American and Pacific Islander Students Are Not Monolithically Successful, Report Says" by Jennifer Gonzalez. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Monday, July 11, 2011
Summary of the summer 2011 report that refutes prevailing stereotypes of the education and financial success of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders students.

Back to top


Students with Disabilities

Making Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: A Guide for Faculty and Graduate Instructors,” Crisca Bierwert. (University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching Occasional Paper #17, 2002). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Presents federal legislation and data on students with disabilities in higher education. Discusses resources and support strategies for helping these students succeed.

Teaching Resources Guide: Disability Services (University of California, Irvine).
Specific ideas for supporting students with several kinds of impairments from physical problems to learning disabilities.

The Faculty Room: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology, DO-IT (University of Washington).
This site focuses on providing access for students with disabilities in postsecondary education. Links help faculty consider strategies for maximizing learning for all students. Also links to DO-IT Home, the site designed to “increase success of people with disabilities in college and careers.”

Back to top


Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Students

Campus Climate and Needs Assessment Study for GLBT Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.” (University of Nebraska-Lincoln).
Discusses results of a GLBT student survey done at UNL, and lists several ways faculty members and departments can create a climate respectful of all students.

LGBT Resources (University of Georgia LGBT Resource Center).
Provides numerous links to valuable LGBT information, such as coming out guides for various ethnic communities, workplace issues, census data, and campus climate issues.

Back to top


Adult Learners

Teaching Tips: How People Learn (Honolulu Community College, Faculty Development).
This page has links to information on understanding adults as learners and strategies for success with adults in the classroom.

Teaching Adult Students,” Cheryl J. Polson, Kansas State University. (IDEA Paper No. 29, 1993). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Characteristics of adult learners and implications for teaching.

Back to top


Veterans in the Classroom

Resources for Teaching Veterans

Resources for Veterans as Students

Back to top


International Students

Tips for Better Cross-Cultural Communication (Michigan State University Office of International Students and Scholars)
A list of suggestions for working with or teaching international students more effectively.

Suggestions for Teaching International Students More Effectively (Oxford Brookes University). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Useful guidelines for attending to the special needs of international students, from being more explicit to teaching “Western” academic skills.

Back to top


Assessing Cultural Understanding

Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE Rubric

Civic Knowledge and Engagement—Local and Global-- VALUE Rubric

Back to top


Michigan State University Resources

Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives

Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities

Web Accessibility

Office of Accessibility and Usability

Women's Resource Center

Office of Study Abroad

Office of International Studies and Programs

Office for International Students and Scholars

Back to top