Center for Educational Innovation

Academic Affairs and Provost

Beyond Tolerance: Resources

With deep differences and tensions accompanying the 2016 US Presidential campaigns, we anticipate that the next months will continue to bring conversations, both rich and contentious, to the campus.  To support both instructors and their learners, the Center for Educational Innovation offers all instructors one-to-one consulting conversations on the personal as well as pedagogical dimensions of being an instructor right now. We are also launching this new resource page with teaching and learning tools you can use now, and in your planning for next semester’s courses. In addition, we'd like to hear your stories. What situations have you encountered in the classroom?  How have you responded?  As we continue to develop this page, we invite you to share resources you've consulted, as well as teaching/learning stories to help us to further understand campus experiences.

Resources for situations you may encounter now



Essential topics, readings, and multimedia that provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship. Created by immigration historians affiliated with the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.


Navigating the News & Social Media for Accuracy & Validity

Part of the problem with trying to find accurate news on social media is that we are often trapped in a filter bubble of information - meaning that we only read, like, and share things that align with our own belief system. It is important to challenge those beliefs and be more critical of the media we consume and share. Information and media literacy is not just a problem of or a cure for the right or left. It is an essential skill for all of us no matter where we lie on the political spectrum.


From the Improving Campus Climate, a University of Minnesota workgroup that shares curated resources via three key webpages:

Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet, developed by the Global Digital Citizen Foundation in cooperation with The National Geographic Society.  

This concise infographic offers questions that work to develop critical thinking on contemporary and historical topics as students engage in work related to discovering and talking about new information. The chart engages students in asking important questions as part of sharing information, insights, and ideas with each other in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere that makes room for complex analysis and dissent.


How Diversity Makes Us Smarter,” and “How Diversity Empowers Science and Motivation,” both from Scientific American and originally published in 2014

The timely readings from a couple of years ago both address a core idea of the first article’s concluding paragraph: "This is how diversity works: by promoting hard work and creativity; by encouraging the consideration of alternatives even before any interpersonal interaction takes place. The pain associated with diversity can be thought of as the pain of exercise. You have to push yourself to grow your muscles. The pain, as the old saw goes, produces the gain. In just the same way, we need diversity - in teams, organizations and society as a whole - if we are to change, grow and innovate."


“Diversity Science and Institutional Design,” by Victoria C. Plaut

Attending to diversity may be complicated, but ignoring or avoiding it (via a colorblind approach) does not help build representative, fair, inclusive institutions. Key points:

  • In diverse institutions, colorblind policies sometimes produce more, not less, stereotyping and prejudice, and the opposite generally occurs for multiculturalism. In this, avoiding race undermines interracial interaction.
  • Signals of organizational colorblindness generally predict negative outcomes, whereas organizational multiculturalism predicts positive outcomes, except when inadvertently seeming to value persons of color only for their group identity.
  • Majority group members may feel excluded or threatened by multicultural approaches to diversity.

3Qs: Advice for handling strong emotions post-election

Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, of Northeastern University responds to these questions: Why was the response to this election so strong?  What effect has the contentious campaign had on our psyches?  How do we move forward?  


Teaching in Response to the Election

Resources and suggestions from Vanderbilt University's Center for Teaching.


Responding to Difficult Moments

These resources from the University of Michigan's Center for Research on Learning and Teaching provide strategies for anticipating and responding to difficult discussions as well as classroom incivility.


Post-Election: Recommendations for School Administrators, Educators, Counselors, and Undocumented Students

This blog post details the steps each of us can take to support our undocumented students


Resources for reflection and longer-term planning

An Approach to Diversity and Teaching: A Dozen Suggestions for Enhancing Student Learning

Twelve sequential suggestions, each supported by published literature, to guide you through the semester.  To learn more about each suggestion, click on the bold wording at the start of each point.


Eight Actions to Reduce Racism in College

Shaun R. Harper (Professor and Executive Director) and Charles H.F. Davis III (Lecturer and Director of Higher Education Research and Initiatives), both from the University of Pennsylvania, present in this Academe article eight actions faculty members must take to respond more effectively to racism in college classrooms. Findings from the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education campus climate studies inform the eight recommendations. 

Best Practices: Teaching Sensitive Course Content  

Applying best practices in teaching and learning, especially when dealing with sensitive course content, can not only help elevate both planned and unexpected class discussions, but also minimize conflict and create inclusive and enriching learning environments. Faculty and instructional staff who purposefully teach sensitive content and plan for the unexpected can create truly transformational experiences for students.


Undermining the Very Democracy We Seek to Create: Discussion Practices in Adult Education and the Dangers of Repressive Tolerance

From University of St. Thomas professor Stephen Brookfield, read about repressive tolerance and how we might experience and even practice it without being aware of it.


Avoiding Psychological [Cognitive] Bias 

Learn about five common types of psychological biases and how to avoid them.


How to Disagree [while using] Civility  

This article, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, suggests practices for disagreeing with civility.





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