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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Statement on Classroom Climate

The University of Maryland values the diversity of its student body and is committed to providing a classroom atmosphere that encourages the equitable participation of all students. Patterns of interaction in the classroom between the faculty member and students and among the students themselves may inadvertently communicate preconceptions about student abilities based on age, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation. These patterns are due in part to the differences the students themselves bring to the classroom. Classroom instructors should be particularly sensitive to being equitable in the opportunities they provide students to answer questions in class, to contribute their own ideas, and to participate fully in projects in and outside of the classroom.

Of equal importance to equity in the classroom is the need to attend to potential devaluation of students that can occur by reference to demeaning stereotypes of any group and/or overlooking the contributions of a particular group to the topic under discussion. Joking at the expense of any group creates an inhospitable environment and is inappropriate. Moreover, in providing evaluations of students, it is essential that instructors avoid distorting these evaluations with preconceived expectations about the intellectual capacities of any group.

It is the responsibility of individual faculty members to review their classroom behaviors, and those of any teaching assistants they supervise, to ensure that students are treated equitably and not discouraged or devalued based on their differences. Resources for self-evaluation and training for faculty members on classroom climate and interaction patterns are available from the Office of Human Relations.

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