The Center for the Advancement of Teaching stands firm in our commitment to supporting Black lives, both inside and outside of the classroom. We are outraged, not only at the recent horrific killings of Black people in America, but also because they underscore our country’s long history of racism toward Black Americans. This communication focuses on what we can do right now to care for and support students in our classrooms.
Following and participating in recent events is having a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our students and is affecting their ability to perform to their fullest academic potential. We urge instructors to be flexible and compassionate, and to consider strategies for reducing volume of work and stress for students, teaching assistants, and instructors. This can be done while maintaining high standards for depth of engagement and quality of work. Here are some issues to consider and resources to support your teaching.
To our Black Community: We see you, we hear you, and we stand in solidarity with you.
Some Key Considerations
Listen to Black Voices
These resources represent just a small sample of many voices:
A letter from UCLA's Afrikan Student Union (May 30, 2020): This letter can help all of us understand what Black students are experiencing right now.
University of Michigan, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: "I Am So Tired" (May 29, 2020) This article by Professor Robert M. Sellers provides one perspective from a Black faculty member.
UCLA Newsroom "Protests for racial justice: Faculty share insights on responses to the killing of George Floyd" (June 1, 2020) This article has collected UCLA faculty quotes and insights about the killing of George Floyd and the protests for racial justice.
African American Policy Forum video "Under the Blacklight: The Fire This Time" (June 3, 2020): In the midst of a historic pandemic, this past week, the pain and frustration of those racial implications and the racial violence embedded in American history exploded into the streets. Beginning with protests in Minneapolis and spreading to cities across the country, there is an ongoing protest movement underway. Following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and George Floyd, among numerous others, police violence against Black people has re-emerged as a central focus of our political and cultural conversation. - Panel facilitated by Kimberlé Crenshaw and featuring UCLA Professor Robin D.G. Kelley and leaders.
|2.||Reach Out to your Students|
CAT echos recommendations from UCLA EDI, CEILS, and others on campus in encouraging instructors to send a message to students acknowledging that these events are affecting many of them. This guidance from UCLA EDI includes sample text that instructors can adapt. Hundreds of faculty have also already signed an antiracism letter to students. We invite you to consider joining this effort or starting your own.
|3.||Make Attendance Optional|
If possible, make class attendance during Week 10 and Finals optional for students and/or provide alternative modes of participation that affords students greater flexibility (including asynchronous modes of communication).
|4.||Alter Final Assessments|
If possible, exercise your right to change your method of final assessment as outlined under the current suspension of specific sections of Senate Regulations 332 and 505 (initially enacted 12 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and reiterated in the June 3, 2020 memo regarding Spring 2020 Final Exams). Instructors have the flexibility to change their method of final assessments. Examples of flexibility you may want to consider include:
We will update this resource guide as additional guidance and resources becomes available. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the memo on Spring 2020 Final Exams issued by the Academic Senate Leadership, as well as the recommendations in UCLA’s Checklist for Remote Assessment Recommendations, and in the Resources for Teaching through Traumatic Times from CEILS. Additional resources from UCLA and from external sites can be found below.
We encourage you to email us at [email protected] to suggest updates and revisions to this guide, as well as additional resources to include on our page. Thank you for contributing to this important conversation.
* This website has been updated based on feedback that we are not in a time of racial "crisis," which suggests that this situation is temporary, and to recognize that racial trauma for our Black students, friends, and colleagues is ongoing and systemic. We can do better.
- Letter from UCLA's Afrikan Student Union (May 30, 2020)
- UCLA Newsroom "Protests for racial justice: Faculty share insights on responses to the killing of George Floyd" (June 1, 2020)
- African American Policy Forum video "Under the Blacklight: The Fire This Time" (June 3, 2020)
- UCLA Academic Senate Leadership memo on Spring 2020 Final Exams (June 3, 2020)
- UCLA EDI Resources for Racial Trauma
- UCLA EDI Guidance for Acknowledging the Current Racial Crisis in the Classroom
- CEILS List of Resources for Teaching through Traumatic Times
- UCLA EDI Inclusion Strategies
- CAT Short Guide to Inclusive Strategies for Remote Teaching
- CEILS Inclusive Remote Teaching Checklist
- Statement from UCLA Campus Leadership (May 30, 2020)
- NEW: "A dozen-plus ways you can foster educational equity" How non-Black faculty members can help dismantle inequities in higher education (Inside Higher Ed July 1, 2020)
- University of Michigan, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: "I Am So Tired" (May 29, 2020)
- University of Michigan Guidelines for Discussing Incidents of Hate, Bias, and Discrimination
- Harvard Guide to Navigating Difficult Moments in the Classroom
- UC Berkeley Difficult Knowledge, Trauma Informed Pedagogy and Safe-ish Spaces
- Resources for Engaging in Anti-Racism Work (compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein)
- Teaching Tolerance resource hub
- Affirming Black Lives without Inducing Trauma (from Teaching Tolerance)
- Zinn Education Project teaching materials
- White People 4 Black Lives (WP4BL)
- BLM-LA Facebook page