Diversity by Design: 3 ways to increase diversity in your teaching

Written by Harveen Chugh and Tamara Friedrich


We recently co-led the first run of a new Core Module for approximately 600 Warwick Business School undergraduate students called Entrepreneurial Mindset. Looking back over the module, one of the things we feel proud of is how we demonstrated the diversity of entrepreneurs to students. This was certainly no coincidence; it was, in fact, diversity by design. Here we share 3 ways you can also increase and demonstrate diversity in your teaching:


  • The ‘who’ – consider your cast: Think about the opportunities to feature people in your module that represent the breadth of humanity, not just a select few. You can do this through guest speakers, your teaching team, or videos. We made a concerted effort to examine who was appearing on the module, not to tick any particular box, but to ensure a breadth of experiences and perspectives were presented and there was a collective and overall representation. It is of course the easier option to call on the first few names or cases that come to mind, but this could naturally skew towards our own unconscious biases. Taking time to think about the overall composition of your module’s cast (e.g., gender, race, age) will help to counteract this.


  • The ‘what’ – consider your content: In addition to the people who appear on the module, diversity runs through all the materials such as the books you assign, research you reference, podcasts you link to, or examples you give. Everywhere a name is mentioned (individual or organisation) is also an aspect where you can think about diversity. You can make a list of all the elements in your module where you will be mentioning names and increase diversity across all these dimensions. It may also be an opportunity to consider the values represented by those you cite or discuss. For instance, there may be scholars or organizations you discuss who have expressed harmful views that you could be inadvertently promoting.


  • The ‘why’ – consider your mission: Ask or remind yourself why increasing and demonstrating diversity through your teaching is important. We have a globally diverse student body and are conscious of the power and privilege we hold in deciding what students see as possible, now and for their future. Increasing and demonstrating diversity will be just one way we can all help to get them there. We are two female co-module leaders and could easily think we have this covered, but this alone is not enough. It is also easy to fall into the trap of using well-known examples with a wealth of information available on them. For us in entrepreneurship, it may be tempting to discuss Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk, but if we truly want a learning experience that all of our students connect with and see themselves in, we should also be talking about entrepreneurs like Whitney Wolfe Herd, the CEO of dating app Bumble and the youngest woman to take a company public, or Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a pioneer in the field of biopharmaceuticals and EY World Entrepreneur of the Year.


We hope these practices will inspire you to increase diversity in your teaching too.

Harveen Chugh, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Warwick Business School

Tamara Friedrich, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, at Warwick Business School