Building Classroom Climate

Building Classroom Climate

Strategies for shaping a positive classroom climate, including communicating inclusive course expectations, designing for a diverse student body, and supporting student belonging in your classes.

How Do I Write a Good and Inclusive Syllabus?

This page covers the six principles of an inclusive syllabus design: learning-focused, essential questions, UDL connections, inclusive & motivating language, supportive course policies, and accessible design.

Empty lecture hall seats with cap on chair

Instructors can help students make more positive decisions about class attendance by discussing how attendance supports their learning, supplying guidance on how to use supplemental course materials, and promoting incentives rather than penalties. 

Student crouches with hands over face

Would it surprise you to hear that nearly a third of the learners you see may have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, as national data suggests (Stearns, 2022)? This page details how instructors can make course design decisions that ease student anxiety, increase wellbeing, and make learning more possible. 

Young woman speaking while professor looks on.

Faculty can support student learning by designing courses to include compassion, communicating often, and connecting students to wellbeing resources on campus.

map of earth

It is important that you have a plan for helping students minimize their own risk so they can have the best possible educational experience.

Hands holding a lightbulb

We can support our international students through relationship building, explicit communication, resources, relevant course content, cognitive load, scaffolding, various ways of participation.

Student typing

Practices and strategies that you can use to help you and your students talk in ways that support positive engagement and minimize harm and unproductive conflict

A group of three people discussing at a table.

Strategies for navigating and managing yourself during hot moments during class discussions, and helping students process conflict.

Students sitting around a table.

Students engage and participate when there is a class climate in which they feel safe, supported, and encouraged to express their thoughts, values, experiences, and perspectives.

UMass graduating students

Faculty and instructors often identify students who seem to be struggling academically in their classes--missing class sessions, performing poorly on exams, or failing to turn in assignments. The Academic Alert Initiative can help faculty and their students by providing faculty with a powerful way to connect with their students and offering students a community of support and a wide range of resources.


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Addresses topics related to course preparation, including syllabus creation and setting expectations for students.


Advice on how to create engaging content and how to prompt students to engage with the content you choose for your courses.

Taking a test

Strategies and advice for designing exams and written assignments, as well as ensuring academic integrity. 

Students in a group discussing.

Includes topics on getting your class off to a good start, and facilitating group work and effective discussions.