Faculty perceptions of teaching diversity: Definitions, benefits, drawbacks, and barriers


Many U.S. universities have committed to teaching topics of diversity as part of their core curriculum. The purpose of the present investigation is to identify faculty definitions of diversity and the perceived benefits, drawbacks, and barriers of incorporating diversity components in university level teaching. Few other studies have examined how higher education faculty subjectively define diversity or perceive the incorporation of diversity into the curriculum they are responsible for teaching. Instructors-of-record completed a survey asking how they defined diversity as well as the benefits, drawbacks, and barriers of incorporating diversity issues into their teaching. Results show what is meant by the term “diversity” is not cohesively communicated to faculty, and faculty need additional training to prepare them to teach about these issues. Further, data also show the need for institutional-level support for faculty via training, preparation, and providing time to ensure faculty can adequately carry out the university’s directive in the courses they teach.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarah R. Gordon.

Ethics declarations

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. All gathered data was confidential, and participants were informed about all the proper details about the study and their role in it, including that they can withdraw at any point. Attaining formal and written informed consent was not regarded as necessary as voluntary completion of the questionnaires was regarded as providing consent, and no medical information was gathered.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University institutional review board (IRB approval number ED-17-23).

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Gordon, S.R., Yough, M., Finney-Miller, E.A. et al. Faculty perceptions of teaching diversity: Definitions, benefits, drawbacks, and barriers. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01406-2

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  • Diversity
  • Teaching
  • Higher education
  • Curriculum