Suggestions for Reading and Discussion (AY 2012-13)

This page offers suggestions for your own learning.  For help finding instructional materials, contact  To see previous lists, go here.

UW-L's Annual Theme:  Inclusivity

One recommendation this year: 

Claude Steele, Whistling Vivaldi:  How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do (NY:  W.W. Norton and Co., 2011).  Also available as an ebook.

Stereotypes exist about ALL of us.  Claude Steele, a social psychologist, initiated the series of studies that demonstrates how and when those stereotypes, lurking "in the air," can cause us to perform well below our abilities.  Steele and other researcher have now studied many socially-defined groups.  The pattern of underperformance in a situation where a negative stereotype is active -- "stereotype threat" -- can and likely will affect all of us.  In a university setting, stereotypes about intelligence in general are automatically active.  That means that students from racially-defined groups that have been stereotyped as less intelligent than other groups are likely to underperform compared to white students.  it also means that women are likely to underperform in math, and white students to stay silent in discussions about issues of race.  

Fortunately, researchers have now developed interventions that WORK.  We can fix this problem!  Whistling Vivaldi provides a very readable account of the research that demonstrates the problems as well as that which examines solutions.  So:  read, and discuss!

A Stereotype-Threat-Free Campus

We can close equity gaps, and make our campus a better learning environment for every student.  The interventions described in Whistling Vivaldi take very little time, can be done in classes as well as in other settings where we work with students, and can have an impact that lasts for several years.  Interested?  Learn more about three brief interventions here.  And work with other colleagues to adapt an intervention you can use -- whether you are an instructor or someone who works with students in other capacities -- here


What Is Inclusive Excellence?   AAC&U's Inclusive Excellence initiative focuses on teaching and learning and advocates three goals:  1.  Achieving academic equity in inclusive, welcoming settings.  2.  Teaching and learning the skills, knowledge, and mindsets needed to make constructive contributions in an increasingly diverse society.  3.  Shifting our thinking from diversity as a goal in itself (typically focused on numbers) to diversity as part of the educational process, a real-world factor that helps everyone learn better when it is engaged deliberately.  Start with AAC&U's commissioned reports on the IE initiative:  The first and third are the most useful.  Each paper starts with 11 pages explaining the history of the IE initiative, and ends with 5-6 pages of bibliography, so they are not as long as they initially appear to be!

UW-L's IE mission broadens the original concept , given that higher ed institutions are more than just places for teaching and learning (e.g., they are also workplaces, and for some, home).  Here is UW-L's Inclusive Excellence mission statement: 

Inclusive Excellence is
our active, intentional, and ongoing commitment
to bridge differences with understanding and respect
so all can thrive.

How to Find Your Own Stuff!

Try the Diversity Resources pages at Murphy Library: 

An especially useful feature for people trying to identify books and media on diversity topics in the Library is the search feature on this page:  People can search by keyword (and limit by diversity category if they choose) to pull up a quick bibliography.

Murphy Diversity page

The web page also quickly directs people to relevant (department) subject guides.  Another fine service from our utterly awesome professional library staff!