Research shows many faculty members in higher education do not engage in conversations about race in the classroom, and the consequences are significant for all students but particularly for students of color (Linder et al., 2013; Pasque et al., 2013; Quaye, 2012). Ignoring issues of race can lead to an increase in racial conflict and microaggressions. When ignored or mishandled, racial conflict can distract students from their schoolwork, cause emotional distress, perpetuate poor interpersonal and intergroup relations, silence students of color, and undermine the learning process (Pasque et al., 2013). Given these negative impacts for students of color, it is important for universities and colleges to address the lack of training opportunities for educators to develop inclusive pedagogical skills. Teacher educator programs prepare educators to teach in diverse and multicultural settings; however, educator development programs are not required for faculty and staff in higher education. Therefore, faculty and staff are underprepared to teach and support diverse student populations. Using a systems theory framework, I demonstrate how the inability to engage in conversations about race and racism, address racial microaggressions, and resolve racial conflict in the classroom is a direct result of a system that does not provide educator development opportunities focused on inclusive teaching. Given the benefits of inclusive pedagogy on student learning, I recommend universities and colleges shift their framework on how educators teach and create opportunities for faculty and staff to develop inclusive pedagogical practices in order to foster an inclusive learning community.
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