University Community

Keep including initiative highlights inclusive virtual learning

New platform encourages the OHIO teaching community to prioritize diversity, inclusion, and access in virtual classroom settings.

Keep Including

The Division of Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with Faculty Senate chair Dr. Robin Muhammad, announces the launch of Keep Including, an online platform of resources and strategies to assist OHIO instructors in creating inclusive and equitable virtual learning environments. 

During what remains a challenging time for the OHIO community, the platform aims to equip OHIO educators with the tools and resources to translate Ohio University’s strategic framework theme of “access and inclusion” into their remote teaching practice.

Dr. Gigi Secuban, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, said: “As we look back on the spring semester and prepare for summer session, today we recall how our core values of diversity, inclusion, and access enrich and support our University’s educational mission.”

In addition to the resources that are accessible on the Keep Including website now, over the next few months the campus community will also see enhanced learning opportunities in the form of webinars and other engagement. 

Over the past weeks, many faculty members have taken advantage of OHIO’s Keep Teaching resources to find strategies for moving classes online and ensuring the continuity of teaching and learning.


Keep Including asks that OHIO instructors be equally strategic about designing inclusive and equitable educational environments during this time of remote learning.

At its core, Keep Including is a call to action to think inclusively about virtual instruction, with the following themes: 

  • Supporting and empowering marginalized students in the virtual classroom  
  • Centering accessibility and access needs  
  • Developing trauma-informed teaching strategies
  • Fostering a sense of belonging and community remotely  


Student Success

Rooted in these four core themes, the initiative focuses on the needs of students and their success.

Dr. Robin Muhammad, chair of Faculty Senate, remarked, “Keep Including is a reminder that the student experience is central to our diverse community. Now, more than ever, Ohio University faculty are here to support students, to keep them on track for graduation, and to increase their positive connection to our campuses, virtual and face-to-face.”

The transition to virtual instruction has presented significant challenges for many OHIO students. These are a few examples:

  • LGBTQ+ students may be adjusting to life in less-than-supportive family environments
  • Students of color may be experiencing even greater feelings of marginalization and lack of community support to process those experiences
  • Students with accessibility needs and learning differences may be struggling to adjust to new learning formats
  • All OHIO students are adjusting to a temporary reality without the many in-person networks of academic support on campus.


Inclusion Matters

As instructors design syllabi, lesson plans, and classroom environments for the summer and beyond, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion highlights the tangible benefits to incorporating inclusive practices, pedagogies, and strategies into classrooms, whether virtual or in-person.  

Students who feel that they belong will not just perform better but also devote energy and passion to their studies. Students whose access needs are met will learn more effectively. All students whose identities are valued, whose trauma is acknowledged, and who see their experiences represented, will happily share their voices, their perspectives, and their experiences with their classmates.


Keep Including encourages departments and individual instructors to learn more about the cohort-based curriculum design work of the Inclusive Pedagogy Academy, whose members provided valuable input.

While remote instruction poses challenges, Dr. Secuban and Dr. Muhammad both believe that this time represents an opportunity for our OHIO community to strengthen and give new meaning to our core values of diversity and inclusion.

Said Dr. Secuban, “Today more than ever, attention to issues of diversity, inclusion, and access is essential to the success and thriving of our students. This belief is core to who we are as an academic community.”

We welcome your feedback and questions about the future direction of Keep Including! For more information, please contact Dr. Jan Huebenthal  at or Dr. Duane Bruce  at

May 4, 2020
Dr. Jan Huebenthal