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The Diversity Readiness Rubric:

Talk the Talk Or Walk the Walk 


The Diversity Readiness Rubric is a unique guide designed to improve our course designs at CETL. It articulates a robust set of standards for evaluating courses while expressing Georgia State’s goals of diversity, equity and inclusion. As learning experience designers at CETL, we put a lot of effort into making sure we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. We ask, how can we harness the potential of the ideals that define our community at Georgia State, inside of a course?  By consciously planning to do it. The Diversity Readiness Rubric is a toolkit comprised of strategies to build engaging and relevant learning environments where all students feel equally valued. It provides clear guidelines to help faculty critically examine their courses from multiple viewpoints and ensure course materials represent diverse perspectives (gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, political affiliation, socio-economic status, age, ability, etc.).   

The driving philosophy behind the Diversity Readiness Rubric is applying an asset-based approach to engagement. Instead of focusing solely on the deficits of a particular community, conscious steps are taken to identify and include the resources, skills and relevant knowledge existing in the community as well. It is a significantly different way of framing a challenge. By reframing, we also ask, what are their assets? What do they bring to the community? Where can we embed key insights into the course design? This approach shifts the focus from “what’s wrong with us?” to include “what’s right with us”.  This reframing leads to nuances in your course design that deepen the overall learning experience. Why bother? Because a continual focus on “the problems” of a targeted community can have unintended consequences on students and instructors. Students may end up feeling like all they have are problems or their communities are defined by their deficits.  We also risk perpetuating bias or stereotype threat. How might we defuse elements that can lead to negative learning experiences where students feel depressed, burned out, dysfunctional or disengaged? 

Asset-Based Approach Deficit Based Approach
Strengths Driven Needs Driven
Opportunity Focused Problems Focused
Internally Focused Externally Focused
What is present that we can build upon? What is missing that we must go find?
May lead to new, unexpected responses to needs/wishes May lead to downward spiral of burnout, depression or dysfunction

The Engaged Scholarship Curriculum, University of Memphis

Ask yourself the following: 

  • How might my own cultural-bound assumptions influence my interactions with students? 
  • How might the backgrounds and experiences of my students influence their motivation, engagement, and learning?
  • How can I modify course materials, activities, assignments, and/or exams to be more relevant to all students in my class?
  • How can I modify course materials to include alternative, local and resilient voices to address problems presented to students?

There are 5 categories to the Diversity Readiness Rubric:

  1. Asset-based Model
  2. Personalization of Learning Community
  3. Recognition of Social & Cultural Differences
  4. Diversity in Perspective
  5. Diversity in Methodology

The Diversity Readiness Rubric has the potential to benefit all who apply it, designers and instructors alike. Accept the challenge. Design a transformative learning experience. If you are interested, get your course CETL certified, the Diversity Readiness Rubric is a key criterion of the course certification process used in conjunction with the OSCQR Course Quality Review and the Career Relevance Rubric.