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Departmental Strategies to Support Diverse Student Populations

There are many avenues for increased administrative support for Boise State’s diverse student populations. Below, you’ll find a list of options and recommendations for creating departmental programs to assist faculty in their work to become inclusive educators.
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Building in Programmatic Support

Assign a peer advisor or mentor to incoming ESL students in your department.
These mentors may be people with the same ethnic/cultural/language background or they may be any interested, qualified student who is majoring in that field. The mentor would simply be there to help the student navigate program requirements.

Link an introductory level core course to an ESL course or an English 101 course.
The students would be required to take both courses concurrently. Talk to the Coordinator of English Language Support Programs about opportunities for team-teaching or learning communities.

Arrange for majors in your department to serve as tutors for nonnative speakers in lower-division classes.
ESL specialists can provide assistance and training for discipline specific tutors. Offer internship credit for discipline-specific tutoring.

Develop courses with explicit cross-cultural appeal.
Such courses would be intentionally designed to allow students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, from both the U.S. and abroad, to interact effectively with each other and to examine issues from different cultural perspectives. One example: BIOL 100 could examine fundamental concepts such as energy or water from the perspective of desert communities, urban communities, farming communities, etc. Both native and nonnative English speakers are invited to enroll in these courses. The English Language Support Programs can assist in creating these courses.

Fostering an Inclusive Teaching Community

Encourage faculty to participate in language diversity workshops or faculty learning communities.
English Language Support Programs and International Student Services periodically offer workshops through the Center for Teaching and Learning. We can also set up a department or college-specific workshop. Additionally, there are many models for increasing faculty awareness of inclusive teaching practices, including:

  • Faculty Learning Communities offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Reading groups
  • Peer teaching observations
  • Consultations with Julie or Gail in the English Language Support Programs

Do you have an idea?

Look for invitations coming from International Learning Opportunities to request funding for department- or program-specific proposals to support multilingual students in the disciplines. One example: Compensation for an English as a second language specialist and a disciplinary content specialist to collaborate on a multilingual-friendly curriculum.

Not sure? Ask us for ideas!

Consult with the English Language Support Programs to find out how to bring your idea to life.