Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia

Inclusive teaching gets a lot of attention on college campuses. Instructors are increasingly expected to understand how course climate— the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical environment of a class—impacts their students, and respond to calls for inclusive classroom environments from both students and administrators.1 But creating a supportive learning environment for all students can be challenging. Where do you begin?

The Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia helps instructors answer that question by offering five inclusive teaching principles derived from research and evidence-based practices. In addition, the guide contains practical, accessible, and usable strategies that instructors can use immediately. We invite you to contact the CTL with questions, suggestions, or ideas for collaborating with us on this initiative at

“Excellence in teaching and learning necessitates the inclusion of every student’s unique identities, experiences, and talents. The Center for Teaching and Learning’s Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia is a great resource for our faculty and graduate instructors to better understand different facets of inclusive teaching and make meaningful changes to their classrooms. As President Bollinger reminds us in his Diversity Mission Statement, ‘building a diverse university community is not the work of a moment. It requires sustained commitment, concerted effort, and the attention of us all.’ I hope that the guide and related CTL programming will provide you with the resources you need to improve learning for all.”

Soulaymane Kachani, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Columbia University

Inclusive Teaching Principles


Learn more about the approach to the guide and the creation of the five principles.

Principle 2

Set explicit student expectations.

Principle 4

Design all course elements for accessibility.

Principle 1

Establish and support a class climate that fosters belonging for all students.

Principle 3

Select course content that recognizes diversity and acknowledges barriers to inclusion.

Principle 5

Reflect on one’s beliefs about teaching to maximize self-awareness and commitment to inclusion.


  1. Ambrose, Susan A., Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman. How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2010, 180