Dr. Sandy Pettit is the assistant dean for student success in the College of Engineering.

Student success can be linked to a student’s perception of social support on campus, their feelings of connectedness and their sense of belonging. When difficulties arise in these areas, it can lead to a variety of educational challenges.

Faculty can play a role in supporting student success by actively considering inclusive teaching practices. Dr. Sandy Pettit, assistant dean for student success in the College of Engineering, offers inclusive teaching tips.

  1. Normalize the use of educational resources – Encourage students to participate in office hours, form a study group and use the Learning Commons, Writing Center and discipline specific tutoring (e.g. the Mathematics Technology Learning Center and ENGenuity Lab). Tell students that these resources are not something that you should seek when you have a problem or are already failing a course; they should be a regular part of a study plan. Recurring use of these resources improves performance, building confidence and community in the classroom.
  2. Learn and use student names – In small classrooms, seek feedback about preferred names and correct pronunciation. When students feel like they are just a face in the crowd, they are less engaged in the course and more likely to be absent from classes. Using preferred names can make students feel like a valued member of the classroom community. This is especially important for welcoming international, transgender and nonbinary students. In large classes, ask students to share their name when asking questions or giving presentations and use their name when responding.

For more tips and reflection activities in inclusive teaching, check out What Inclusive Instructors Do (Addy et al. 2023).