Diversity Syllabi Language

Recommended topics and language to add to course syllabi to prevent and address hate and bias

Below are recommendations for topics and language to add to course syllabi in order to prevent and address incidents of hate and bias. Faculty are encouraged to add any or all of the areas to their syllabi. For official syllabus requirements, see the Office of the Provost syllabus requirements page or UAM 6501: Syllabus Policy.

Mission statement

Add a mission statement that reflects the values of the College, University, department or program and highlight elements of diversity from the statement during the first week of classes. For example:

  • Mission statement of the University of Nevada, Reno: Inspired by its land-grant foundation, the University of Nevada, Reno provides outstanding learning, discovery and engagement programs that serve the economic, social, environmental and cultural needs of the citizens of Nevada, the nation and the world. The University recognizes and embraces the crucial importance of diversity in preparing students for global citizenship and is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion and accessibility.
  • Mission statement of the College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts educates and inspires students to be engaged, flexible and critically literate global citizens. Our students learn to evaluate, synthesize, communicate, experiment and create in order to produce solutions to a range of known and future problems. Our ambitious, innovative and community-engaged research and creative work in and across the creative arts, humanities and social sciences focuses on the varied contexts and expressions of the human condition and seeks to contribute to the betterment of society and the elevation of humanity. We aim to create a community of diverse and agile thinkers, makers and doers who thrive in a challenging, changing world.

Value statement

Add a department/program/college values statement or statement on anti-racism. Collective statements should be devised and approved by department faculty. See the statements below as examples.

  • CLA statement on racism and bias: The College of Liberal Arts unequivocally rejects white supremacy, racism and other forms of hate and bias. We will work to dismantle racism and discrimination on campus, in our communities and in society as part of our shared efforts to elevate humanity. We are committed to creating a campus community where all can work and learn freely, safely and productively, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, economic status, veteran status, or ability.
  • Department of music statement on anti-racism: We in the Department of Music at the University of Nevada, Reno unequivocally reject white supremacy and racism and reaffirm our commitment to equality, justice and democracy in society, on campus and in our classrooms. No matter the name or label, white supremacist, anti-Semitic and racist thought and action are antithetical to our values. The Department of Music condemns the terrorizing and intimidating tactics of bullies and bigots. We will uphold the University's mission, which states that the University of Nevada, Reno "recognizes and embraces the critical importance of diversity" and "is committed to a culture of excellence, inclusion and accessibility." As people who are dedicated to understanding musical life, we are all too aware of how some voices have been silenced while others privileged. We recognize that racism is endemic to our society and institutions, and we pledge to understand and combat it, including through our collective teaching, performance, scholarship and service. We want you, our students, to know that we are committed to creating a campus where all can learn. We welcome all members of our extended community regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic background, political or institutional affiliation and ability, and we are fully dedicated to promoting a diversity of voices and views as an academic and artistic department. We recognize that there is still work to be done to make the spaces of the university safe and hospitable to all and we are committed to continuing to do that work. Our doors are open to any students seeking support or guidance. (Adapted from an open letter by University of Nevada, Reno faculty of August 2017 and the Society for American Music's Statement in Solidarity with Anti-Racism and Anti-White Supremacy.)

Classroom and ground rules

Add a statement on classroom ground rules and facilitate the creation of specific ground rules for each class at the beginning of each semester. See: Ground Rules for the Classroom Eberly Center. For example:

  • Ground rules for discussions and general classroom rarticipation: In this classroom, students will be asked to regularly engage in respectful discussions on a variety of topics. In order to maximize the effectiveness of these discussions and enhance the learning experience for all students, the following ground rules for discussions and general classroom participation will be adopted:
    • Listen respectfully, without interrupting.
    • Listen actively and with a genuine desire to understand other points of view.
    • Critique ideas, not people.
    • Speak with care and respect, and understand that your words impact others.
    • Do not monopolize discussions.
    • Support your positions with reliable evidence.
    • Commit to learning and sharing information.
    • Be open and willing to change your perspectives based on what you learn from others.
    • Recognize that each person comes to a discussion with experiences that are different from your own.
    • Recognize that there are different approaches and ideas for solving problems.
    • Avoid blame, speculation and inflammatory language.
    • Avoid generalizations about social groups.
    • Avoid assumptions about any member in the class.
    • Do not ask individuals to speak for their (perceived) social group.
  • Students will have an opportunity to participate in the creation of additional ground rules during the first week of class.

Academic standards and student code of conduct

Add Information on academic standards and/or the student code of conduct. For example:

  • Academic standards: Specific to the academic pursuits of students, the University of Nevada, Reno believes the maintenance of academic standards is a joint responsibility of the students and faculty of the University. Freedom to teach and to learn is dependent upon individual and collective conduct to permit the pursuit and exchange of knowledge and opinion. For more information on academic standards and appropriate student conduct, go to the University Administrative Manual, Section 6,502 : Academic Standards.
  • Student code of conduct: The University of Nevada, Reno is a higher education institution committed to the intellectual and personal growth of its students as scholars and citizens and the promotion of a learning environment where these goals can be achieved safely and fairly. The community is dedicated to academic excellence, as students become involved in academic pursuits, life-long learning and personal development. Therefore, the University promotes civility, respect and integrity among all members of the community, with every student expected to exhibit high standards of behavior. Conduct that is prohibited is listed in Section II: Student Conduct Regulations and Policies; such conduct may be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.

Student resources

Add the following student resources:

  1. Hate and bias incident reporting(To report incidents of hate and bias)
  2. Nevada SafePack App (Quick access to campus safety resources)
  3. Campus Escort Service (Get to where you need to go, safely)
  4. Nevada Cares (Consent, awareness and relationships — outreach and educational tools for preventing and addressing forms of interpersonal violence)
  5. Counseling services (Mental health, counseling sessions, outreach activities and crisis services)
  6. Student expression, rights and responsibility (Know your rights and responsibilities for engaging in free expression)