SIP 6.5 Normalizing Asking for Help

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Have you ever sat alone in your office during office hours only to have your students tell you in class that they didn’t understand the reading or an assignment? Or perhaps you’ve urged a student to go to the Writing Center for help organizing a draft, only to watch that student walk down the hall, right past the Writing Center, without stopping? Or maybe you know a student is struggling with addiction and you’ve mentioned the Counseling Center’s services several times, but every time, the student tells you, “I can handle this on my own.”  

Take a SIP of This: Normalizing Asking for Help

There are many reasons students might resist asking for help. They may be unaware of resources, they may feel they don’t have time, their home culture may stigmatize asking for help, or their self-identity may hinge on self-sufficiency. However, taking advantage of campus resources, including faculty office hours, can improve student engagement, retention, and learning. Wouldn’t it be great if students saw asking for help as a normal, expected behavior instead of a sign of weakness?  

 

Here are some things you can do to normalize asking for help:  

  1. Model asking for helpLet students see you asking for help when you need it. When the AV equipment in your classroom doesn’t work, ask a student for help or call IT for classroom support. When you don’t know the answer to a student’s question, demonstrate how you seek out answers. These may seem like small things, but these actions help disrupt the notion that smart, well-educated, successful people do everything on their own. The key is to demonstrate through your behavior that asking for help is completely normal.  
  2. Share stories about times that you asked for helpModeling is about letting students see you ask for help; sharing stories is about giving them a glimpse of how you ask for help when they aren’t around. For example, tell your students about how you joined a writing group to get feedback on your drafts, or how when you didn’t understand an article you read, you asked a colleague for their take on it. Talk about how much better you felt about a teaching situation after a consultation with a colleague. Share how helpful the Center for Faculty Excellence was in helping you troubleshoot a Digital Measures issue. Depending on your level of comfort, you might even share stories about you asking for help in your personal job—getting a personal trainer, for example, or seeing a therapist after the death of a loved one.  
  3. Require students to visit you during your office hours during the first few weeks of the semester.  A recent study connects students’ use of faculty office hours with academic success (Guerrero & Rod, 2013 / http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15512169.2013.835554), but students are often unsure of when or why they should go to office hours. Give them some pointers on the types of questions or issues to bring to office hours and then make visiting you during office hours an official assignment during the first few weeks of the semester. Once they’ve “survived” office hours, they are more likely to return.   
  4. Give shout outs in class to students who ask for help. If a student shares in class that they went to the Writing Center or attended a group discussion at the Counseling Center, congratulate them for being proactive.  
  5. When you talk about supports available to students, frame them as supports for smart students rather than supports for needy or struggling students. This can help to remove the stigma of asking for help. Emphasize that these supports exist because the University expects students to use them. You can also point out that many supports are funded by student fees, which means that students who don’t take advantage of them are not getting something they paid for. Help them understand that asking for help is a form of self-advocacy, which is an important life skill.  

 

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Normalizing Asking for Help

SIP 6.4 Productive Failure

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

As educators, we know that college as not just about learning disciplinary content—it is also about the holistic growth that helps to form a mature, well-rounded person. Sometimes the achievement is measured by “successes”—persisting from semester to semester, earning a strong GPA, securing a coveted internship, etc. But sometimes the real lessons are found in a student’s failure.  It is our job to help students to reframe their slips and missteps—both inside and outside the classroom—that play an important role in their development.

The idea of productive failure is related to Carol Dweck’s concept of “growth mindset” (https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/). Dweck, a prominent psychology professor from Stanford, suggests that students with a growth mindset believe that hard work and perseverance contribute to learning and achievement, whereas students with a fixed mindset may believe that achievement is a function of pre-ordained intelligence or ability. Put very simply, students with a growth mindset work through setbacks in order to continue along the path to growth and achievement, whereas students with a fixed mindset see setbacks or failures as proof of their inability to achieve.

Manu Kapur (http://manukapur.com), a professor of education in Switzerland, has identified a pedagogical style called “productive failure” that encourages growth mindset by structuring lessons around the setbacks the contribute to growth mindset. In this approach, which is problem-based and Constructivist (http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/) at its core, students are offered opportunities to learn that involve using their prior skills and knowledge to try to solve new problems and complete new tasks before being exposed to the content that will “give them the answer.” As they face the unknown, students inevitably fail at their attempts to solve problems—but they draw upon their own strengths and apply them to disciplinary content in a meaningful and connected manner, allowing them to immediately integrate and appropriate the new material once it is presented to them.

Productive failure can be particularly helpful in fostering a sense of pride, even in the failure itself. When a student feels that they are making a strong effort and contributing in a class, no matter how, they are more likely to engage with their peers and the content material—and this leads to better outcomes.

Constructed this way, exercises in productive failure increase content recall and skill mastery. Productive failure allows students to have a better understanding of the why behind problem solving, instead of just focusing on the potential solutions. This understanding of systems can then be applied to other problem solving and critical thinking tasks.

Take a SIP of This: Productive Failure

Here on some thoughts on incorporating productive failure in philosophy and action:

  • Take the shame out of failure. Share stories with students about times that you have fallen short of a goal, but found a way to come out the other side. These stories may be personal, academic, or professional, depending on the level of comfort you share with your students.
  • Integrate failure into your lesson plans. Manu Kipur has been doing research in this field. “The general idea is to develop tasks that students will not be able to solve, but require them to call upon their preexisting knowledge to try to solve the problem. That knowledge can be of the subject itself, as well as the informal insights students bring from their lives. The students will inevitably fail — as the teacher expects them to — but that failure is framed as part of learning and so is not seen as shameful. This process primes students’ brains to learn the new concept from their instructor after the initial failure.” (Schwartz) (https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/04/19/how-productive-failure-for-students-can-help-lessons-stick/)
  • Incorporate many opportunities for formative assessment into your class sessions. This will allow students the opportunity to “fail safely” without negatively impacting their final grade. Here are many good examples of Classroom Assessment Techniques (https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/cats/) that are primarily formative in nature.
  • Recognize that embracing failure can have a profound impact on students of color, first-generation students, and students from underserved social or educational backgrounds. Social and educational institutions may place an expectation of failure upon these students, and they may react by inadvertently lowering their own expectations or viewing failure as meeting expectations.  It is fundamentally important to shift this mindset and to embrace failure, big and small, as a valuable part of the learning process.
  • Connect students to resources outside of the classroom that can help them to navigate perceived failures that could stand in the way of college completion if left to misinterpretation. For example, a lot of students have to stop out of college for a semester to get on their feet financially, and this can make them feel as if they have failed. If you hear of a student considering this course of action, let them know that there are people on campus who can help them make a plan to return, and empower them with the ability to feel proud of their financial decision while keeping on track academically.  Contact the staff of Roadways at 303-615-2010 to find the right connection for your students.
  • Encourage students to take advantage of campus opportunities for engagement and development that recognize challenge and failure as part of a path to success.  The 1Book/1Project/2Transform (https://msudenver.edu/fys/1book1project2transform/ )common reading program, for example is a series of lectures and activities that always center around an author who has overcome great obstacles and has superseded the stigma of failure surrounding their setbacks. This year’s author, Diane Guerrero, will be on campus on April 4—bring your students to hear her speak!
  • Have empathy. Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone falls flat from time to time! Make the benefits of failure outweigh the consequences. Reframe the failure and learn to move forward.

“I would rather flirt with failure than never dance with my joy.”  –Wes Moore

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Productive Failure

SIP 6.3 Leading Difficult Discussions in Class and Online

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Difficult discussions are on the rise in the academy. As the political landscape in the United States becomes more intense and polarized and as the MSU Denver community feels the impact of legislation such as rescinding of the DACA program and the removal of workplace protections for transgender people, the focus of classroom discussions has gone beyond course content and into the need to discuss personal lived experience as it relates to identity. For many students, MSU Denver may be the one place where they can explore the impact of these difficult times on their personal lives, and so it becomes an imperative to create spaces where students can share, be challenged, and be affirmed in their identities while they are learning. 

Salience of identity or experiencing a microaggression may impact a student’s ability or desire to participate in class. For example, a female student walking to class may have been cat-called and suddenly, her female identity and is at the forefront. A student with undocumented parents may be worried they will be deported, making them reflect on their privilege as someone who was born in the United States. A transgender student may have a class in a building where there is no gender-inclusive restroom, and as such, fear for their safety when using a gendered restroom. We rarely know exactly what our students are dealing with when they come to class, and consequently, how various class topics may impact them. Because we cannot control when people may be triggered (having an emotional or physical reaction to something that is said or experienced), it is important when planning to consider how to lead difficult class discussions, since triggers may arise when we least expect it and change the course of inter-student dialog.  

Take a SIP of This: Leading Difficult Discussions in Class and Online

Here are some ideas on facilitating difficult dialogues: 

  1. Take time to review your syllabus and consider what topics may be controversial. Again, we will never know what may trigger a student, but it is critical to consider what issues may arise. Consider how those conversations may contribute to your overall goals for the course, rather than throw a wrench into your lesson plan. Think through the outcomes and skills you want the students to achieve through these challenging conversations.  
  2. Work with the class to set ground rules. There are many different resources and models of ground rules that apply to identity work and social justice. Models such as social justice educator Dr. Jamie Washington’s are very transferable to the classroom. Challenge students to use “I statements” and speak from own personal experience. Work to build relationships of commitment and trust, and engage with active listening techniques.  
  3. Monitor yourself, your triggers, and your own personal biases. Remember that the leader of a discussion is also a participant. When participating in or facilitating dialogue, it is natural that you may become triggered, or have an emotional or physical reaction to something that is said. What are your triggers? How do you deal with triggers? Doing some reflection ahead of time can help you continue to facilitate without responding angrily to the student who may have triggered you. Additionally, it is important to remember that everyone has bias, and often times, implicit bias shows up without awareness. Check out the Harvard Implicit Bias tests and assume that you hold stereotypes that have been influenced by the media and the cultures you are a part of. With that knowledge, take steps to counteract stereotypes.  
  4. Consider multiple modes of expression for processing difficult dialogues or topics. Give students five minutes to write down their immediate reactions, then encourage small group dyads or triads to allow more voices to process. In online forums, students could submit a written reflection on their thoughts. They can decide if they prefer to submit that reflection to the whole class or only the instructor. Everyone processes information at differing speeds and with varying levels of comfort. Offer students a 24-hour reflection window in which to post additional questions and ideas to a Blackboard discussion board. This is effective both in face to face class discussions and online discussions. Students who did not speak up in-class may post thoughts more freely in Blackboard. Considering ideas and responses later may elicit clearer understanding with deeper reflection.  
  5. Above all, see this challenge as a positive. When students dissent or disagree, they are engaged with the content and feel safe to share their points of view. Of course, we never want this to happen in a way that belittles other’s experiences or identities, so it is always good to refer back to the class ground rules once you sense a conversation or topic may be headed towards a negative outcome.  

 

 

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Leading Difficult Discussions in Class and Online

  • Keep an eye out for the Equity-Minded Pedagogy Series, hosted multiple times each semester. Session topics include Implicit Bias, Starting Your Semester with an Equity-Minded Lens, Creating Inclusive Classroom Communities, and Teaching for Inclusive Excellence. Sessions are open to all MSU Denver faculty, and can be brought to your department as well. 
  • Chronicle of Higher Education: Yes, You Have Implicit Biases Too https://www.chronicle.com/article/Yes-You-Have-Implicit-Biases/241797  

 
Visit The Well at http://sites.msudenver.edu/sips/ for more great ideas and resources for Strong Instructional Practices in your higher education classroom! 

SIP 6.2 Teaching Military Veterans

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

They look like their peers. They sound like their peers. They act like their peers. Students who are military veterans often have different needs than their peers, however.  

Faculty who understand and respect differences in military and civilian life can help faculty support those who have already given a lot of themselves to support us. 

Take a SIP of This: Teaching Military Veterans

Expectations in the military are typically communicated in very explicit, straightforward and concise language. Expectations in higher education can sometimes be communicated with less clarity leaving veteran students frustrated when they don’t understand what is being asked of them. 

Sensory sensitivity and alertness that is part of living and working on a military base can make focusing in classroom environments a challenge. Visual or auditory stimuli that might be imperceptible to most students can be distracting to student veterans. Even mild traumatic experiences can result in reduced concentration skills. Students who come to class late or talk during lecture can be highly problematic to a student veteran. 

In the military, the purpose of learning particular knowledgoccurs in order to complete a work-related task or to meet a goalAdult learners’ motivation will increase when they understand the “real life” application of what they are learning.  

Student veterans are serious about school. They are working toward specific goals and outcomes. They may become frustrated with their peers who are disrespectful or who appear to take their opportunities for granted. 

Student veteranhave cultural and political perspectives that can enrich instruction. Having lived all over the US and the world, military veterans have unique perspectives on various cultures that can contribute to rich classroom discussion. Their experiences in political situations may lend itself to underrepresented perspectives that can expand their peers’ thinking. The children and spouses of active duty and military veterans have perspectives based on their own set of experiences that can benefit others. 

Military veterans have practiced accountability to others, accountability to work and accountability to time. In leaving the service our military veterans transition from highly structured expectations for accountability to expectations that can be fluent and unclear.  

Military veterans bring career and leadership experience to civilian life. Student service members can model responsibility in ways that can benefit their peers. They can be good candidates for group leaders and may become frustrated by projects that drag on if classmates don’t do their part. 

Like many MSU Denver students, student veterans are entering school later than typical freshmen. Their experiences in high school could have been very different than that of their peers. Gaps between high school and college can result in having to relearn study, writing, and test-taking skills. 

Good ideas for teaching all students, but particularly military veterans: 

  • Be patient. 
  • Ask who among your students is a military veteran or reservist; still, respect the privacy of those who want to keep their service to themselves.  
  • State instructions and expectations explicitly and clearly. 
  • Keep things simple; avoid over-complicating assignments or explanations of ideas. 
  • Intentionally incorporate all students’ ideas; create a safe environment for minority perspectives. Ask student veterans about how they would like to participate in particular discussions. 
  • Be aware of your personal opinions about military service or conflicts. Stay respectful to encourage students to engage with you and the class. 
  • Reinforce the relevance of course content.  
  • Stop to check for understanding periodically and review unclear concepts when necessary. 
  • Provide ideas for the best way to study your course content; encourage students to access campus resources such as the writing center or tutoring services. 

It is common for civilians to thank members of the military for their service. Being thoughtful in teaching student veterans is one way faculty can demonstrate their thanks. 

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Teaching Military Veterans

Journal article: Coming Home to School: Challenges and Strategies for Effective Teaching with Military Veterans 

Institute for Veterans and Military Families: The Uneasy Civilian: On Campus with Faculty and Student Vets 

Blog post: Preparing Faculty to Better Serve Veterans 

San Jose State University: Teaching Student Veterans 

 
Visit The Well at http://sites.msudenver.edu/sips/ for more great ideas and resources for Strong Instructional Practices in your higher education classroom! 

SIP 6.1 Creating Productive Physical Space in the Classroom

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For students and instructors, a classroom’s physical environment impacts the success of a good class period. All your prep, all your innovation and careful planning can be ruined in a too cramped, too warm or too cold, institutionalized physical space. When physical bodies struggle to be comfortable, then minds focus most on how to get comfortable – even if that means leaving the space – more than on the day’s lesson.  

  

Most of us have little say about where our courses meet; and yet, we can take steps to improve our given learning environments.   

Take a SIP of This: Creating Productive Physical Space in the Classroom

1. Know before you go. Minimize surprise by checking out the classroom space before the course begins. If you’re teaching in a locked classroom, then encode your Faculty ID or get a key as soon as possible. Knowing whether there are mounted desks or movable tables and chairs, whiteboards or chalkboards, an open-access multimedia system or an encoded computer podium ensures you’ll bring the right tools for the right tasks.   

2. Every body counts. Every person in the room needs an individualized learning space. Count the number of chairs or desks in the room and compare that number with the number of enrolled students on your roster. Include yourself in the count; as the instructor, you need an instructor desk or podium and a chair. Reserve seats for students with seating accommodations, particularly the larger stand-alone accessible desk and chair. If there aren’t enough seats, then speak with your department chair or the appropriate dean to bring in more seats or to move your class to a more appropriate space.  

3. Take in sights and sounds.  Make it a habit to turn on all the lights above students’ learning spaces, and check-in with students about the brightness of the room, especially when using the projectors. Some learning spaces have windows with blinds; allowing natural light into the room will energize everyone. When lecturing, consider using a room microphone, projecting your voice, and repeating student comments and questions so all may hear.  Remember to contact your department chair or AHEC should any in-room equipment, including the lights or blinds, be damaged or not working properly. 

4. Gather ’round. Research shows that community-building enhances learning. Create a relate-able classroom environment by re-organizing the desks and chairs, allowing students to interact more personably in small groups, in one large circle, or in partners. Ask students to assist in setting up the gathering space before class begins and in restoring rows at the end of the class hour. For auditorium seating, encourage students to sit nearer the front or to cluster together.  

5. Practice Situational Awareness. Students will follow your lead for ensuring a safe space. Keep aisles clear. Periodically, remind students to tuck away backpacks, coats, cords, and other personal belongings. Every class period, quickly assess and remove barriers, like trash cans and wayward chairs, from the right-away of doors. The first week of classes point out and reference AHEC’s emergency procedures posted in the room.   

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Creating Productive Physical Space in the Classroom

Burgstahler, Sheryl E. “Universal Design of Physical Spaces: From Principles  
   to Practice.” Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice.  
   Editors Sheryl E. Burgstahler and Rebecca C. Cory. 2008. Harvard, 2010,  
   pp. 187 – 197. 

Gruenewald, David. “Foundations of Place: A Multidisciplinary Framework for  
   Place-Conscious Education.” American Educational Research Journal, vol. 40,  
   no. 3, 1 Jan. 2003, pp. 619 – 654. Sage Journals, doi:pdf/10.3102/00028312040003619  

“How ‘Space’ Matters to Learning,” Teachers and their Classrooms Learning  
   StylesNeaToday7 Oct. 2015, http://neatoday.org/2015/10/07/how-space-matters-
   to-learning/  

Thompson, Becky. “Creating Rituals,” and “Why We Flee.” Teaching with  
   Tenderness: Toward an Embodied Practice. University of Illinois: 2017,  
   pp. 39 – 84. Transformations: Womanist, Feminist, and Indigenous Studies. 
 
Visit The Well at http://sites.msudenver.edu/sips/ for more great ideas and resources for Strong Instructional Practices in your higher education classroom! 

SIP 5.15 Helping Students Practice Self-Care

 

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Having a student nod off in class or show up to class with a large and very distracting fast food meal can seem disrespectful, but it’s entirely possible that both scenarios can be attributed to a lack of self-care skills. College students are notorious for being sleep deprived, stressed out, and too busy or too broke (or both) to eat well.

Take a SIP of This: Helping Students Practice Self-Care

A study that came out earlier this year found a connection between irregular sleep patterns in college students’ and poor grades. Another study found that 85% of college students experience stress on a daily basis. These studies and others point to the need for college students to practice self-care—making sure they get enough sleep, learning stress management strategies, exercising regularly, and eating a nutritionally-sound diet. As faculty, we often see the effects of our students’ lack of self-care: poor academic performance, lack of engagement in class, anxiety, and the like.  

There are some things you can do to help students improve their self-care:

  1. Model good self-care. Get enough sleep, eat well, stay hydrated, exercise, and take other steps to keep yourself performing at your best. If you habitually shortchange yourself on sleep or exercise, you are not functioning as well as you could. Research shows, for example, that sleep deprivation leads to decreased productivity and irritability, makes us more vulnerable to illness and disease, and causes errors at work and on the road, leading to car accidents. Take your own self-care seriously and talk to students about why you value self-care for yourself and for them.
  2. Talk explicitly about self-care with students. Students probably know they should get more sleep, but learning how to prioritize sleep and manage time effectively to allow enough time for sleep is not intuitive. Share with students the tricks you use to get enough ZZZs, for example. Or if you, too, find yourself in need of a few strategies to achieve a better life balance, check out these tips from Lifehacker and The Muse and share what you learn with students.
  3. Create assignments and course schedules with student self-care in mind. For example, after a big assignment is turned in, you could give students a class period or so before giving another big assignment. You could schedule heavy reading assignments over a weekend so students don’t have to sacrifice sleep to show up to class prepared.
  4. Resist academia’s culture of sleep deprivation one-upping. Many of us wear our sleep deprivation like a badge of honor, as if it demonstrates how dedicated we are to our work. But given that research shows that sleep deprivation takes a heavy toll on our cognitive abilities, it would make more sense to see a commitment to getting enough sleep as a demonstration of our dedication to work.
  5. Normalize asking for help for stress, anxiety, and mental health issues. If a student mentions stress to you, tell them about the Counseling Center‘s stress management workshops, for instance. If you have benefited from counseling and are comfortable sharing that with students, do. Rather than chalking up immense stress to just being “part of the college experience,” steer students toward resources that can help them manage that stress.
  6. Recognize that some students, through no fault of their own, will bear a greater self-care burden. The constant stress of dealing with institutionalized racism, for example, makes students of color very vulnerable to depression and anxiety. DACA students may be pre-occupied with concerns about the legislative environment. Students who are veterans may struggle with PTSD. Familiarize yourself with appropriate campus resources that you can tell students about and stock brochures for these offices to give students during office hours or other appropriate moments.
  7. Tell students where they can get nutritious snacks and other food. For example, First Year Success will have snacks available during Finals Week. The University has a food bank. The Writing Center‘s King Center location offers free breakfast snacks and coffee on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
  8. If you are concerned about the well-being of a student, file a CARE report. Someone from the CARE Team will reach out to the student as soon as possible to help.

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Helping Students Practice Self-Care

SIP 5.14 Hispanic Serving Institution Status: What it means for Us!

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There has been a lot of buzz on campus this year about our achieving “HSI status.” In fact, everyone seems to be talking about it! But what exactly is “HSI,” and what does it mean for our students and our university?

Take a SIP of This: Hispanic Serving Institution Status: What it Means for Us!

“Hispanic Serving Institution” is an official designation from the U.S. Department of Education, requiring an institution achieve a minimum enrollment of 25% Hispanic students (FTE—Full-Time Equivalent). Currently, 5,348 Hispanic students are enrolled at MSU Denver, or 26.3% of our population. 

The HSI status, once confirmed by the U.S. Department of Education, will make MSU Denver eligible for to apply and compete for funding from the Department of Education and such Federal entities as the Department of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and others. These grants can be used for equipment, capital projects, educational materials, counseling programs, and other programs to strengthen the University as a whole.

Has MSU Denver always been an HSI?  No. In the academic year 2007-2008, then-President Stephen Jordan and the Board of Trustees set MSU Denver on a path toward becoming an Hispanic Serving Institution. After a concerted effort throughout the University, we finally achieved this enrollment this semester, Fall 2017.

How did we get here, then?  This HSI achievement was truly a campus-wide initiative, with representatives on task forces and committees from all corners of the University. Since then, additional Task Forces have been established to follow up on the work of the original group. The most recent Task Force worked through 2015, issuing its report January of 2016, with 21 additional recommended strategies and policies.

Why is it such a major accomplishment for us?  MSU Denver has always held as central to its mission a goal of providing excellent education to as many residents of our service area as possible. Becoming an HSI represents one of the most significant civil rights education gains for underrepresented students in Colorado’s recent past, since our percentage enrollment of Hispanics—previously one of the most underrepresented groups in education in Colorado—is now roughly equivalent to the percentage of Hispanics in the Denver and metropolitan area that we serve. 

How does being an HSI relate to undocumented or DACA students?  The vast majority of undocumented students in the state of Colorado are Hispanic. Historically, state and federal laws required that undocumented students essentially be classified as international or non-American students despite their years of residency and educational history in Colorado;  this classification relegated them to the out-of-state tuition category and made a college education financially prohibitive or even impossible. Following several years of legal battle, and due in large part to the efforts of President Jordan and the HSI Task Force, the State Legislature passed the ASSET legislation (SB-015 in 2013) to provide In-State tuition throughout Colorado (ASSET legislation requires them to have started in a Colorado school by their sophomore year, age 15.) This leadership was soon emulated by several other states.

How does the HSI initiative impact my classroom?  It is important to realize that our collective mission is not to produce equality—meaning that everyone is treated or comes out the same—but rather to promote equity, which means that every student is given the same opportunity to achieve the goal of attaining a college education. The HSI initiative at MSU Denver brings our equity goals to the forefront, and all of us can filter this down to day-to-day practice in the classroom. Many of the SIPs you find at http://sites.msudenver.edu/sips/ help with including and educating students from diverse backgrounds in the classroom.

MSU Denver’s HSI Initiative has been and continues to be a multifaceted educational enterprise, eminently representative of the University’s mission and core values. Our collective work toward educational equity and future progress as a diverse and vibrant institution will continue!

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Hispanic Serving Institution Status: What it means for Us!

To learn more about the difference between ASSET and DACA, read here

Check out this great article called, “Pedagogy for Equity:  Teaching in a Hispanic Serving Institution.”

Or this one, “Hispanic Serving Institutions:  What are they?  Where are they?”

Finally, you can look into HACU:  the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.  MSU Denver is a member of this organization and many faculty, staff and students have attended their annual conferences, both nationally and internationally.

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Inspire instructors and benefit students by sharing your own Strong Instructional Practices

We invite our readers to share their Strong Instructional Practices through the Submit a SIP! page on The Well. Many will be shared with all MSU Denver faculty and staff through our regular Thursday distribution or posted on The Well. We look forward to reading about your Strong Instructional Practices!


About The Well

Metropolitan State University of Denver appreciates and practices inclusive excellence. A significant part of inclusive excellence is instructional practice that supports the social and academic achievement of all students.

The Well serves as a central repository for university faculty to share ideas and resources for strong instructional practice. It is maintained by the sipsquad, a group of MSU Denver professors who study and use inclusive pedagogy in their teaching.

The sipsquad publishes weekly SIPs written by us and other MSUD faculty who practice inclusive pedagogy. We invite instructors to submit their own SIPs using the “Submit a SIP” form on this site.

In addition, we look out for resources related to strong instructional practice in higher education and share those through the “Sources for SIPs” page and the MSUDenverSIPs twitter feed. We encourage you to send us links to resources that will benefit the university faculty.

Drop us a line at sipsquad@msudenver.edu  😎

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