According to the university's Academic Master Plan, USM prioritizes student success, investment in faculty and staff, and "a culture of inclusiveness of people and ideas" (2016). A strategic plan for inclusive teaching supports these priorities through investment in new, expansive teaching initiatives that are based on research-informed best practices and designed to develop the skills of faculty and staff, enhance the success of our diverse student body, and institutionalize practices of continuous improvement towards equitable student outcomes. Toward this end, a representative cross-campus task force started to examine statistical findings on equity gaps within courses at USM and researched inclusive teaching and learning practices to develop an action-oriented strategic plan; this plan includes continuous assessment and institutionalization of faculty and staff development efforts in advancing teaching excellence to reduce inequities in student outcomes.
Institutionalize inclusive teaching and equitable learning as a value at the University of Southern Mississippi through a systematic approach that prioritizes:
Providing a consistent, welcoming environment for the diverse student body at USM.
Ensuring faculty and staff have support to teach courses, mentor, and interact with students through an equity-minded approach.
Identifying equity gaps and disparities and taking concrete steps to provide access to academic resources, ensure students' sense of belonging, and enhance student success at USM.
The sharing of the Excellent in Teaching through Inclusion plan across the institution was an essential step. It built awareness, prompted discussion, and helped in understanding barriers.
The Data Equity Team at USM collaborated to submit a Department of Education grant for this program. At the time of this writing results have not been announced, but the process of writing the grant helped the team plan the intersections of our work for student success through an equity-minded lens.