Support Diverse Students

As an Academic Department

  • In job searches, proactively seek and support faculty of color. When hiring, post job ads in publications that target diverse audiences such as Diverse Issues in Higher Education or social media sites for diverse affinity groups in your professional organizations.
  • Develop a clear strategy to decolonize the core classes in your curriculum (electives that address diversity mean that knowledge remains marginalized). Start with Dr. Shauneen Pete’s “100 Ways to Indigenize and Decolonize Academic Programs and Courses”.
  • Actively seek input from students who have gone through your program or major, particularly students of color, LGBTQ students, first generation students, and women (especially if they matriculated from a male-dominated program).
  • Analyze student success and retention data for your majors to find out if students of color are enrolling in your majors and if they are, if they are completing your programs.
  • If possible, offer on-site childcare at events (especially in the evenings), and adopt and enforce consistent policies that support pregnant and parenting students. Be sure to address student parents with school-age children, not just nursing infants.

As an Office

  • Register your staff for Safe Zone training, Levels I and II
  • Require staff in your office to attend a Native Student Support Network half-day training.
  • Physical space can say a lot: place Safe Zone and NSSN stickers in visible locations. Displaying items such as artwork by diverse artists, a map of nearby reservations, a rainbow flag, etc. can make an administrative office less intimidating for under-represented students.
  • Analyze university and/or office policies on the books and consider their impacts on under-represented students. Advocate for changes to policies that disproportionately impact under-represented students.

As a Staff Member

As a Faculty Member

  • Decolonize your classroom. Examine, with a critical eye, how teaching practices may unwittingly reinforce dominant narratives and styles of communication or learning that marginalize under-represented students. De-center whiteness, maleness, and Amer-Eurocentric content.
  • Representation matters. Ensure that under-represented students will see, hear about, and read scholars, researchers, and innovators who look like them throughout your syllabi. Swap out some readings and films to make room for more diverse content.
  • Include research and examples that present data more intersectionally (for example: statistics that break down the pay gap not just by gender but by race).
  • Value the knowledge students bring and find ways to center student voices and interests at least some of the time. Create opportunities for students to teach each other and to actively create knowledge (not just “bank” or absorb it) through unique assignments.
  • Include a “basic needs” statement like the one below in your syllabus:
    I urge any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, to contact me or the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (CMU 120) at 218.477.2652. We recognize that concerns about food insecurity and housing impact a student’s academic performance and ability to engage in any class, and we can put you in contact with local resources and support.


  • Examine your own, internal biases every chance you get (it’s okay, we all have them). Question any assumptions you make about a student or their background based on their belonging to various identity categories (e.g., gender, race, physical ability, etc.)
  • Introduce yourself using your pronouns and always use students’ chosen names and pronouns.
  • Be flexible in your teaching and advising styles. One size doesn’t fit all!
  • Recognize that working to make our campus more diverse, accessible, and inclusive is a collective effort and cannot be fully realized by one office or department alone.