Teaching in a Time of Conflict

We are teaching during a time of tragedy and conflict in which passions are high and both students and faculty may need additional support to flourish. The Center for Teaching Excellence has curated a selection of resources to provide this support and to enable you to help students navigate difficult conversations that may arise in your classroom. These resources outline strategies for maintaining the open and respectful dialogue we prize here at SMU, including how to express care for students and how to care for yourself as well.

SMU faculty have faced challenging situations in the past with admirable grace and courage, from contentious elections to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know you are no doubt doing the same now. It is our hope that the support the CTE offers can help lighten the load, and remind you that your efforts and the energy and dedication they require are both seen and deeply appreciated.

Helpful Resources

Syracuse University's “Teaching in the Face of Tragedy and Conflict” includes results from research on faculty actions students find helpful in the face of tragedy and conflict as well as resources for responding to student concerns about escalating conflict and violence in the Middle East.

Lehigh University's Inclusive Teaching in Challenging Times includes resources on what you can do or say when an event or incident is in the minds of your students. 

Brandeis University's Handling Planned or Unexpected Class Discussions Involving Sensitive Topics offers a framework for addressing sensitive topics.

Tufts University's Guidance for Responding to Student Distress Following a Tragedy or Crisis offers some strategies you might consider using, as  a faculty member, since you might potentially be the first university employee students see following a significant event.

Please email us at cte@smu.edu with your questions, comments, and/or additional resources suggestions to add to this page.