Religion, Race, & Democracy

Teaching for equity and social justice


This institute was designed for instructors from all disciplines interested in developing instructional approaches that foster skills and dispositions students need to engage fully and ethically in civic life. Through individual reflection, case studies, work in learning teams, theater-facilitated dialogues, and hands-on practice, instructors explored strategies for creating classroom environments that foster critical reflection and authentic conversations about pressing and controversial issues of our time, such as religion, race, and democracy. We have a capacious understanding of these concepts. They may manifest in either your course content or your approach to teaching (for example, a commitment to developing an inclusive, civically engaged classroom)—or both.

Throughout the institute, experienced facilitators modeled ways to nurture learning environments that considered participants’ different positionalities and identities, supported cognitive as well as emotional processing of difficult historic and current realities, and encouraged compassionate listening to and engaging with marginalized perspectives. By the end of the week, instructors defined their goals for social justice learning; designed assignments to foster critical engagement; revised their syllabus to respond to and leverage students’ diverse backgrounds, interests, and needs; and devised inspiring ways of communicating their teaching philosophy with students.

This institute was co-sponsored by the Arts & Sciences’ Religion, Race, and Democracy Lab.

This institute offered a chance for instructors to pause and think deeply, in community, about the challenges that arise as they engage students in exploring and learning from critical issues of our time and the opportunities that the struggles afford us.

More on what instructors could expect from the experience.

Institute registration information.

Here's an overview of the institute's main areas of exploration.

The institute was led by CTE faculty as well as several highly experienced facilitators from UVA and other institutions with diverse backgrounds and pedagogical interests.

Frequently asked questions.