Center for Teaching and Learning

Inclusive, Affordable Teaching Materials Checklist


From Mark Brimhall-Vargas, PhD, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Brandeis University

  • When reviewing your syllabus, what groups of people are portrayed as "expert" or as people with "authority" in your topic?

  • What does your curriculum assume about the class? Which student arrives already "optimized" to experience your class? What skill or habit is necessary for success in your class that you believe students already have (or should have)? How do you compensate for those who may not have developed this skill or habit?

  • Does the syllabus or curriculum present legitimate, juried scholarship that challenges the discipline's essential assumptions (sometimes referred to as "the canon")?

  • Where and how do your syllabus, curriculum and/or pedagogy encourage students to “produce” knowledge in addition to "consuming" knowledge?


University of Kansas, Inclusive Syllabi

  • Who is represented in the readings in terms of topics covered? Is there a reason why one group or another is not represented or represented frequently?

  • Who is represented in the readings in terms of authors? Is there a reason why one group or another is not represented or represented frequently?

  • Do texts support deficit models that blame marginalized groups for the inequality they experience? Can asset-based reading and readings that address institutional and systemic discrimination replace or complement deficit model readings? "Asset-based teaching seeks to unlock students' potential by focusing on their talents. Also known as strengths-based teaching, this approach contrasts with the more common deficit-based style of teaching which highlights students' inadequacies."

  • Can course topics and content be adjusted to speak to diversity and inclusion? Can examples be used to illustrate concepts, theories or techniques also present a variety of identities, cultures and worldviews?


Tufts Univeristy, The Syllabus as a Tool for Setting a Climate

  • Do I use examples and text throughout that are representative of my students?

  • Do I encourage and present alternative perspectives?

Affordable, Open-Use Course Materials

(OER = Open Education Resources)

Laura Hibbler, Associate University Librarian for Research & Instruction

  • What is the total cost of books and other course materials that students are assigned?

  • Are there ways to reduce these costs through the use of Open Educational Resources, materials available through Brandeis Library subscriptions and/or the Library's Course Reserves service?

Library staff members would be happy to assist faculty in identifying resources and search strategies as you develop your syllabus. Please contact your liaison librarian or Laura Hibbler, associate university librarian for tesearch and instruction with questions.