Student Life


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

at Bethany College

The approach to diversity, equity and inclusion at Bethany College is one of learning, activism and affirmation. We endeavor to learn about humanity and the many beautiful ways Bethanians experience life. We accept diversity, not as an anomaly, but as a reality of the world in which we live. We embrace the activist call to create equity and justice. And, we affirm that the goals we set will be steps toward a Beloved Community.


Listening to Our Students
Listening to our students is critical to having meaningful curriculum and instructional design. We’ve provided a short video about listening to students during the beginning of the pandemic.

Inclusive Instructional Design
Even the most well designed courses can have equity gaps. The CRUSH model outlined below can help teachers and learners think about how to create a more inclusive course and how to assess students in a manner that maximizes motivation:

    Be sure that you have communicated clearly what the goals and functions of your activities and assessments are. Explain what you are asking learners to show you and why.
    Learning is most powerful when it is connected to the world around us and leaves room for the learner to make additional connections. You will create relevance for an assessment when you ask the learners to co-construct knowledge and tell you what is important to them.
    Use the Universal Design Learning framework to ensure accessibility and equity are baked into your course design.
    Invite learners to set their own goals, contribute to rubrics, recommend readings or sources, and teach during class sessions. When we share discursive power in ways that affirm each other, we create a liberating educational space. Please be sure to insist that this goes hand-in-hand with an ethic of honoring others with dignity and respect.
    Make sure your course design does not privilege technologies or spaces over human beings. Ask how humans will experience the course structures you want to use. Then ask how those structures are either enhancing or hindering learning. Do as much as you can to mitigate any of the latter.


Self-Care, Advocacy, and Allyship
When we find ourselves in a situation that feels isolating and unfair, it can be tough to know how to deal with it. Caring for ourselves and being strong enough to ask for help are important tools for all. It is also important to learn how to advocate for other members of our community. This site provides excellent guidance to help you with both.

Effective Communication Strategies
Communication is the foundation of teaching and learning. Whether this is on Zoom, in person, or using alternative means, communication strategies are what uphold our ability to co-construct knowledge. The resources at this link is a great place to start considering the right strategies for your needs.

Important Social Considerations
Diversity often calls us to think about differences that are socially constructed such as race, gender, and sexuality. Socially constructed means that as a society we have decided how to label and categorize these things. In some instances this has been done for power or control, in others it may have been to assign and identify specific roles or patterns. In DEI work we recognize that identities are often related to these social constructs and how they intersect. We also recognize that consideration of them is important. Here are a few additional considerations that can strengthen our understanding:

  • Languages
    Remember that the world around you is made up of many languages and linguistic approaches. While some are used more often than others depending on our places and our roles, we want to be sure that we recognize language and use of language are not monolithic. From American Sign Language to Swahili, language has a multitude of forms and functions.
  • Ethnicity
    Ethnicity is often conflated with race or nationality. These may be intertwined and intersecting but they are not necessarily the same. One’s ethnicity is rooted in history, provenance, parents, heritage, and cultural practices. These may be informed by experiences of race and nation but can also include religion, environment and language.
  • Nationality
    Nation states or countries are communities that have been conceived and recognized in a system of global networks. Those networks include economic ones, health ones, and educational ones. While many people reading this site will know nationality to have remained in place for many years, it is important to be aware that this is not the case around the world. Names of nations, borders and national identities can and do change.
  • Accessibility
    Ability and difference in ability are key factors of identity and may also intersect with other markers. Seek to describe people as humans first identifying ability differences as secondary characteristics. Also, seek to increase access to the Bethany experience for people representing different abilities. This is true not only of ability differences we may be easily aware of such as a person being blind, deaf or non-ambulatory. It is also important to consider accessibility for differences we can’t see like chronic illness, asthma, color-blindness, neurological differences, or mental health needs.