Diversifying Course Readings

  • Increasing the diversity of the authors whose works are assigned on course syllabi is one way that educators can support social justice goals.
  • University teaching and learning centers, such as those at Tufts and Kansas, encourage instructors to feature more diverse voices in course materials, often as part of a wider set of anti-racist teaching practices. Institutions such as SOAS University of London, meanwhile, have set up initiatives to help faculty revise reading lists to improve the representation of women and people of color.
  • Seeing diverse kinds of names on the syllabus may help underrepresented students see themselves as belonging in the scholarly traditions being taught—the privilege long held, if unconsciously, by white men. A diverse faculty improves learning outcomes and provides role models; a diverse syllabus could be expected to yield similar benefits.
  • Analyze Your Own Syllabi

  • This tool allows you to analyze the proportions of readings that you assign by women and people of color. It uses US census and driver licensing records to estimate the probability that a name is associated with a given gender and race/ethnicity, based on the gender_guesser and ethnicolr packages.
  • Simply upload a spreadsheet with the list of authors or readings. You can use one of the two provided templates: template1.csv or template2.csv.
  • This website does not retain any information that you upload.
  • Authors' names must be comma-separated, e.g. Obama, Barack. Authors without a comma will be ignored as they are assumed to be an institutional author (e.g. United Nations).
  • Both .csv and Excel (.xlsx) formats are accepted, but for Excel, only the first sheet will be used.
  • Option 1

  • template1.csv has one row for each reading.
  • The (optional) courseid column enables you to compare results for different courses. It can be numeric or the name of a course. If you just have one course, you can omit this.
  • The reading column is a citation in the following format: a list of authors (last name, first name) separated by semicolons, with ** after the last author. Everything after the ** is ignored. For example: Agyeman, Julian; Bullard, Robert; Evans, Bob** 2003. Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Option 2

  • template2.csv has one row for each author.
  • The readingid column is an identifier for each reading. This allows multi-authored publications to be weighted appropriately.
  • The (optional) courseid column enables you to compare different courses. If you just have one course, you can omit this.
  • The author column is the author's name in (lastname, firstname) format. For example: Obama, Michelle.
  • Upload your file

  • Questions? Comments?

  • Please see the paper for full details: Millard-Ball, Adam; Desai, Garima; and Fahrney, Jessica (2021). "Diversifying Planning Education through Course Readings." Journal of Planning Education and Research, in press
  • Download the code here
  • If you have any problems, please contact Adam Millard-Ball, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA.