The literacy and engagement of all students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is a priority goal for U.S. higher education. The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) seeks to contribute to this goal by enabling present and future STEM faculty to enhance the learning of all students whom they teach irrespective of, but not limited to, preferred learning styles, race, ethnicity and culture, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, religion, age or socioeconomic backgrounds.


CIRTL's contributions to diversity in STEM are founded on the principle that excellence and diversity are necessarily intertwined. Faculty and students bring an array of experiences, backgrounds, and skills to the teaching and learning process. Effective teaching capitalizes on these rich resources to the benefit of all, which we call "Learning-through-Diversity".


At the same time, CIRTL recognizes the reality that existing social and educational practices do not always promote equal success for all learners. Thus, creating equitable learning experiences and environments requires intentional and deliberate efforts on the part of present and future faculty. CIRTL is committed to developing a national STEM faculty who model and promote the equitable and respectful teaching and learning environments necessary for the success of Learning-through-Diversity.


To achieve these goals, CIRTL provides development experiences, programs and resources that promote the abilities of present and future faculty to:

  • Know the diverse backgrounds of their students and their implications for learning.

  • Identify curricular, teaching and assessment practices that promote learning for all.

  • Draw upon the diversity of their students to enhance and enrich the learning of all.

  • Recognize existing inequities, and promote an equitable, inclusive and respectful climate for learning.



These aims require specific attention of the practitioner to:

Practitioner-participant interactions - such as inclusion and engagement of the ideas of all participants; respectful teaching behaviors; accessibility for all participants; mentoring of less experienced practitioners.

Participant-participant interactions - such as welcoming and respectful inclusion in collaborative work; respect for the ideas of all and recognition of their value; accessibility in activities that occur outside of the primary learning environment.

Participant-content interactions - such as how participants experience content; how content can be adapted and varied; and how exploring novel contexts for presentation can enrich the experience of participants and practitioners alike.


The attached document has been developed as a touchstone for program developers/ instructors/facilitators as they develop the learning goal and evaluation plans for their participants in their programs, as well as to guide their own practice.

Download the Learning-through-Diversity Developmental Framework as a PDF155.96 KB