Election 2020 Faculty Resources

A Message from the Office of Diversity, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Center for Teaching Excellence

It is likely that we will not know the results of the 2020 election until after November 3rd. Feelings of worry, hope, anticipation, and more may linger in this election season for us, and our students, with the potential to further disrupt student learning in our courses. To support you in communicating compassionately with students during this time, we developed a resource with tips and tools to help you consider contingencies in your curriculum planning and maintain academic continuity through what could be a challenging period of time this semester.

Many other campus units are preparing materials and hosting events to support students, staff, and faculty before and after the election. The Student Leadership and Engagement team has compiled a growing list of programs occurring here at UIC and the Chicago area (see go.uic.edu/PostElection). It may also be helpful to check in with your local academic or administrative units to see if additional support is available.

We will get through this together. For more information or to reach out for further support, please contact us.

Acknowledging Current Events: What's at Stake?

  • Issues that are important to many of us and our students could be impacted by the outcomes of the election this year: DACA, protections for international students, access to health care, and countless others. It is likely that stress and feelings of anxiety will be running high among our community members.
  • Research shows that students appreciate when instructors recognize and address issues of concern on campus and in the broader environment, even if they use only a short portion of class time (Huston & DiPietro, 2007).
  • Students notice when their instructors ignore what is occurring in the broader environment (Huston & DiPietro, 2007). In fact, research suggests that student experience and success is negatively impacted when racism is not addressed in the classroom (Harper & Davis, 2016).
  • Take care not to assume any homogeneity of students’ political views in the classroom. Be prepared to promote inclusion of all viewpoints, which may reflect both positive and negative reactions to the election outcomes.

Strategies to Signal Your Concern & Anticipate Disruptions to Your Lesson Planning

We share several strategies that you can use to demonstrate concern and empathy for students in the wake of the election.

We note that these same strategies, which prioritize students’ well-being and contribute to their academic success, make for successful inclusive teaching practices in general.

Want to Learn More?

References

Huston, Therese A., & DiPietro, Michele. (2007). In the eye of the storm: Students perceptions of helpful faculty actions following a collective tragedy. In D. R. Robertson & L. B. Nilson (Eds.) To Improve the Academy: Vol 25. Resources for faculty, instructional, and organizational development. Bolton, MA: Anker. 207-224.

Harper, S. R., & Davis III, C. H. (2016). Eight actions to reduce racism in college classrooms. Academe 102(6): 30-34.