Guidelines for Faculty Best Practices: Issues of Diversity and Equity

Power and Voices

  • Be aware of power dynamics, whether among colleagues or between colleagues and students.
    • Be open to criticism and avoid being dismissive.
    • Maintain professionalism in speech; establish boundaries with students and colleagues regarding communication channels.
  • Within appropriate guidelines, make every effort to respect student privacy. Treat student conversations as confidential unless given explicit permission to share them.
  • Foster an atmosphere that encourages participation by all.
    • Try to empower every individual to speak and recognize that disempowered individuals often do not feel comfortable doing so.


  • Treat people of all cultural backgrounds equitably.
    • Respect and understand the unique cultural perspectives of students from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Avoid making assumptions about students based on their backgrounds.
  • Avoid racially charged language.
    • Avoid assuming that an individual of a certain culture or racial background, especially a minority, can serve as an ambassador for the entire culture or race. However, allow students to speak up for their culture or race when they feel it is necessary.
  • Speak to second-language English speakers just as you would native English speakers. However, offer constructive criticism without punishment within the classroom and in grading.


  • Respect the bodily autonomy of others.
    • Touch students only with their permission, and only in cases of pedagogical necessity. Have a discussion at the beginning of the collaboration about the level of comfort regarding physical touch and re-evaluate periodically.
    • Avoid casually commenting on the physical appearance of others.
  • Avoid sexually charged language.
  • Inquire about and use the pronouns which individuals feel best reflect their gender identity.
  • Suggestions regarding attire for professional activities should be made without regard to gender or reference to physical attributes of individuals.


  • Avoid calling attention to or stigmatizing persons with mental or physical disabilities.
  • Have a discussion at the beginning of the collaboration about the specific needs of the student with disabilities in order to ensure that the accommodations made are as suited to them as possible.
  • Ask students with disabilities how they wish to be referred to in regards to their disabilities.


JSOM Diversity and Equity Committee: Connie Glen and Sarah Wroth (co-chairs), Kyle Adams, Chris Albanese, Dominick DiOrio, Espen Jensen, Lissa May, Jason Nam, Ayana Smith

Undergraduate task force: Caroline Goodwin (undergrad rep.), Amane Machida, Detrich Morrison-Jones, Jude Richardson, August Tuggle

Graduate task force: Nicha Stapanukul (grad rep.), Sun Huh, Shinyoung Kim, Timothy Stephenson

Appendix: Definitions and Resources

The Jacobs School of Music is committed to maintaining an environment for faculty and students that is free from misconduct, harassment, discrimination, microaggressions, bullying, and implicit biases. Students or faculty who feel that they have experienced any of these are encouraged to report the behavior to the chair of the Diversity and Equity Committee at jsomde@indiana.edu.

Sexual misconduct: Indiana University defines sexual misconduct as encompassing sexual harassment and sexual violence, including rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and stalking. The following link describes the sexual misconduct policy and procedures for responding to incident sof sexual misconduct: http://stopsexualviolence.iu.edu/policies-terms/sexual-misconduct-policy.html 

Harrassment: Harassment occurs when someone’s actions or words are unwelcome and violate another person’s dignity or create an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive. The Dean of Students website provides additional information about how to report harassment: https://studentaffairs.indiana.edu/dean-students/bias-incident/index.shtml

Discrimination: Discrimination is “an action or practice that excludes [or] disadvantages...individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of some ascribed or perceived trait.” Discrimination is prohibited by University policy and by federal statute: https://policies.iu.edu/policies/ua-01-equal-opportunity-affirmative-action/index.html

Microaggressions: Microaggressions have been defined as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative...slights and insults to the target person or group” based on aspects of identity (e.g., race, gender, class, etc.). The following website provides helpful definitions and examples: https://sph.umn.edu/site/docs/hewg/microaggressions.pdf.

Bullying: Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The Code of Academic Ethics, section III.21, addresses bullying: https://policies.iu.edu/policies/aca-33-code-academic-ethics/index.html.

Implicit bias: Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Implicit biases are pervasive; everyone possesses them. For a detailed discussion of implicit bias, see: http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/research/understanding-implicit-bias/.