Fall 2023-CS 491-Intro to Inclusive Terminology-Section EIT

Course Overview: 

Teaching team:

Course Description

This course is an introduction to topics of social justice, inclusive terminology, and intersectionality. Through watching videos and discussing questions in small groups, participants will learn about identity, intersectionality, gender, sex, sexuality, disability, race, and ethnicity. The discussions are designed to help participants gain fluency with vocabulary, understand their own and others’ experiences, and learn about historical context and systemic issues. The content of the course is drawn from a resource developed in collaboration with the National Center for Women & Information Technology; the resource can be found here.


We welcome your feedback on the course structure, the content, and everything else! Feel free to email Colleen or Vidushi, stop by before or after class to chat with us, or fill out this form if you would prefer your feedback to be anonymous: https://forms.gle/zLYeEmkpH6vRmkBY6


13 points possible (13 class sessions: 1 pt each)

  • S/U: Satisfactory: 11+ points

Note that this means you have 2 excused absences. If you feel that you may need more, reach out to Colleen or Vidushi!

Participation Types: 

  • Synchronous: Attend a live, in-person session and participate in the discussion (1 pt for class session). These sessions are Wednesdays 11:00-11:50pm in 2036 Campus Instructional Facility.
  • If you miss any synchronous sessions, you can make them up asynchronously: Watch 2-3 videos (10-15 minutes) and respond to discussion prompts (1 pt for each assignment) in the Assignment for the day you missed. The asynchronous option covers all of the same content as the synchronous version.
    • You can complete these any time before the end of the semester.
    • Don't forget that you have 2 excused absences!


Students, staff, and faculty are all welcome to enroll.

In CS, this has been designated an “approved event.” With prior approval from their supervisor and operations permitting, non-exempt civil service employees may attend the class without loss of pay or use of benefit time.

Important Info Not Specific to the Course

COVID-19 Response

One section of the course will be held in person, and all students participating in person will be required to follow the campus COVID-19 protocols. This includes wearing face coverings and complying with any current building access restrictions. If you are unable to attend in person, you may complete the discussion prompts online through canvas instead.

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info:

Following University policy, all students are required to engage in appropriate behavior to protect the health and safety of the community. Students are also required to follow the campus COVID-19 protocols. 

Students who feel ill must not come to class. In addition, students who test positive for COVID-19 or have had an exposure that requires testing and/or quarantine must not attend class. The University will provide information to the instructor, in a manner that complies with privacy laws, about students in these latter categories. These students are judged to have excused absences for the class period and should contact the instructor via email about making up the work.     

Students who fail to abide by these rules will first be asked to comply; if they refuse, they will be required to leave the classroom immediately. If a student is asked to leave the classroom, the non-compliant student will be judged to have an unexcused absence and reported to the Office for Student Conflict Resolution for disciplinary action. Accumulation of non-compliance complaints against a student may result in dismissal from the University.

All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear face coverings in classrooms and university spaces. This is in accordance with CDC guidance and University policy and expected in this class.

Please refer to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s COVID-19 website for further information on face coverings. Thank you for respecting all of our well-being so we can learn and interact together productively.

In order to implement COVID-19-related guidelines and policies affecting university operations, instructional faculty members may ask students in the classroom to show their Building Access Status in the Safer Illinois app or the Boarding Pass. Staff members may ask students in university offices to show their Building Access Status in the Safer Illinois app or the Boarding Pass. If the Building Access Status says “Granted,” that means the individual is compliant with the university’s COVID-19 policies—either with a university-approved COVID-19 vaccine or with the on-campus COVID-19 testing program for unvaccinated students.

Students are required to show only the Building Access Screen, which shows compliance without specifying whether it was through COVID-19 vaccination or regular on-campus testing. To protect personal health information, this screen does not say if a person is vaccinated or not. Students are not required to show anyone the screen that displays their vaccination status. No university official, including faculty members, may ask students why they are not vaccinated or any other questions seeking personal health information.

Classroom Climate

The goals of this course can only be accomplished in a setting of mutual respect. As your instructors, we are committed to creating a classroom environment that welcomes all students, regardless of their identities (e.g., race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs). We all have unconscious biases, and we will try to continually examine our judgments, words and actions to keep our biases in check and treat everyone fairly. We hope that you will do the same. If you feel comfortable, please let us know if there is anything we can do to make sure everyone is encouraged to succeed in this class. 

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info:

The intent is to raise student and instructor awareness of the ongoing threat of bias and racism and of the need to take personal responsibility in creating an inclusive learning environment. The Grainger College of Engineering is committed to the creation of an anti-racist, inclusive community that welcomes diversity along a number of dimensions, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity and national origins, gender and gender identity, sexuality, disability status, class, age, or religious beliefs. The College recognizes that we are learning together in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, that Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous voices and contributions have largely either been excluded from, or not recognized in, science and engineering, and that both overt racism and micro-aggressions threaten the well-being of our students and our university community. The effectiveness of this course is dependent upon each of us to create a safe and encouraging learning environment that allows for the open exchange of ideas while also ensuring equitable opportunities and respect for all of us. Everyone is expected to help establish and maintain an environment where students, staff, and faculty can contribute without fear of personal ridicule, or intolerant or offensive language. If you witness or experience racism, discrimination, micro-aggressions, or other offensive behavior, you are encouraged to bring this to the attention of the course director if you feel comfortable. You can also report these behaviors to the Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) ( https://bart.illinois.edu/ ). Based on your report, BART members will follow up and reach out to students to make sure they have the support they need to be healthy and safe. If the reported behavior also violates university policy, staff in the Office for Student Conflict Resolution may respond as well and will take appropriate action. 


We want this course to be accessible to everyone beginning on the first day! In our experience, we can’t count on timely official accommodation information. It is helpful if students email us before the first class so that we can develop a plan so that the course is accessible. There is no expectation or need for students to share personal information about why a particular accommodation would or wouldn’t be helpful. And we can continue to iterate during the semester. If there’s something that might get in the way of you being successful in the class - feel free to reach out! 

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info ( LINK ): 

To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as soon as possible. To contact DRES, you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603, e-mail disability@illinois.edu or go to https://www.disability.illinois.edu .  If you are concerned you have a disability-related condition that is impacting your academic progress, there are academic screening appointments available that can help diagnose a previously undiagnosed disability. You may access these by visiting the DRES website and selecting “Request an Academic Screening'' at the bottom of the page.

Wellbeing and Distress

We care about you first and foremost as a human (not as a student). We hope for your wellbeing to be your top priority and much more important than this class. We think of this wellbeing as being able to continually meet your needs for sleep, food, exercise, socializing, relaxing, and emotional support. We'd be thrilled to be someone you reach out to if any of these aren’t going great. We can work together to identify what resources might be helpful (some great UIUC resources are described below). We want to destigmatize distress, but not normalize distress. It is unfortunately common to experience distress in school and we want you to know that you’re not alone if you’re experiencing some form of distress! When this happens, reaching out is essential! If we normalize this distress, we might incorrectly assume that we shouldn’t reach out. (When students get stuck on a programming problem - we want them to reach out! But we know it can be scary for them! The same thing applies to us!) 

Important info from the CS Mental Health Committee

The CS Mental Health Committee is a student organization dedicated to promoting dialogue and improving mental health resources for students in the community. We have worked on a lot of event and outreach initiatives in the past such as our Mental Health Awareness Nights, De-stressing Events, or our Mindfulness Monday posts on social media. We even worked with the Illinois Senate Government to get CR/NC grading for students in the first COVID semester.

This year, we aim to help students find campus resources and disability services, hear from peers about tips around well-being and self-care, as well debut our new Faculty Mental Health Ambassador program to create more mental health-friendly course policies and dialogue in classes.

You can also find a list of mental health resources at https://csmhcillinois.com/t/mental-health-resources .

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info: 

As members of the Illinois community, we each have a responsibility to express care and concern for one another. If you come across a classmate whose behavior concerns you, whether in regards to their well-being or yours, we encourage you to refer this behavior to the Student Assistance Center (1-217-333-0050) or online at odos.illinois.edu/community-of-care/referral/ . Based upon your report, staff in the Student Assistance Center reaches out to students to make sure they have the support they need to be healthy and safe. Further, as a Community of Care, we want to support you in your overall wellness. We know that students sometimes face challenges that can impact academic performance (examples include mental health concerns, food insecurity, homelessness, personal emergencies). Should you find that you are managing such a challenge and that it is interfering with your coursework, you are encouraged to contact the Student Assistance Center (SAC) in the Office of the Dean of Students for support and referrals to campus and/or community resources. The SAC has a Dean on Duty available to see students who walk in, call, or email the office during business hours. For mental health emergencies, you can call 911 or contact the Counseling Center.

Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional wellbeing. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University’s resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do -- for yourself and for those who care about you. 

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820 

McKinley Health Center: 217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801

Confidential Resources

If we learn about a situation in which a student is in danger of harming themselves or others, or has been seriously harmed, we may be legally required to notify the Title IX Coordinator. If students want to speak with someone confidentially, the following resources are available on and off campus: 

Speaking with a confidential resource does not preclude students from making a formal report to the Title IX Coordinator. Confidential resources can walk students through all of their reporting options.  They can also provide students with information and assistance in accessing academic, medical, and other support services they may need. 

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info ( LINK )

The University of Illinois is committed to combating sexual misconduct. Faculty and staff members are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct to the University’s Title IX and Disability Office. In turn, an individual with the Title IX and Disability Office will provide information about rights and options, including accommodations, support services, the campus disciplinary process, and law enforcement options. A list of the designated University employees who, as counselors, confidential advisors, and medical professionals, do not have this reporting responsibility and can maintain confidentiality, can be found here:


Other information about resources and reporting is available here: https://wecare.illinois.edu.

Religious Observances

For people of many religions, school conflicts with their religious holidays. Please let us know if you need to miss a class for a religious holiday - we can create a plan so that you can get the most out of the class. Even when religious holidays don’t fall on a class day, you might typically take time off from work to celebrate. We're happy to figure out alternate plans so that you can take this time off! Just let us know! 

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info:

Illinois law requires the University to reasonably accommodate its students' religious beliefs, observances, and practices in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and work requirements. You should examine this syllabus at the beginning of the semester for potential conflicts between course deadlines and any of your religious observances. If a conflict exists, you should notify your instructor of the conflict and follow the procedure at odos.illinois.edu/community-of-care/resources/students/religious-observances/   to request appropriate accommodations. This should be done in the first two weeks of classes.

Academic Honesty

We know that the norms and expectations can vary across classes and we are happy to chat with you to make sure that the expectations in this class are clear. The main thing is to do your own work. We will spend additional time talking about academic honesty as it pertains to your role as a CA, so we hope you develop a deeper understanding of and commitment to academic honesty during the class.

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info: 

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Code should also be considered as a part of this syllabus. Students should pay particular attention to Article 1, Part 4: Academic Integrity. Read the Code at the following URL: studentcode.illinois.edu/.

Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade. Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy: studentcode.illinois.edu/article1/part4/1-401/ . Ignorance is not an excuse for any academic dishonesty. It is your responsibility to read this policy to avoid any misunderstanding. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor(s) if you are ever in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or any other breach of academic integrity.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

We will talk about your responsibilities to protect your students’ privacy as a CA. In addition, we plan to ensure that we provide those same protections to you as my student. 

Here’s the official UIUC text that has helpful info: 

Any student who has suppressed their directory information pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should self-identify to the instructor to ensure protection of the privacy of their attendance in this course. See https://registrar.illinois.edu/academic-records/ferpa/ for more information on FERPA.

Emergency Response

Many students will participate mainly online, but these UIUC on-campus emergency services information may be helpful: 

Emergency response recommendations can be found at the following website: http://police.illinois.edu/emergency-preparedness/ . UIUC encourages you to review this website and the campus building floor plans website within the first 10 days of class. http://police.illinois.edu/emergency-preparedness/building-emergency-action-plans/ .

Course Summary:

Date Details Due