Chapter 4: Creating Relationship-Rich Classrooms

The classroom, whether physical or virtual, is the primary point of contact between institutions and undergraduates, so it is the single most important site for students to experience welcome and care, to be inspired to learn, to build webs of relationships, and to ask questions of meaning and purpose. This chapter begins by focusing on the nature of those faculty-student relationships and then considers how faculty can leverage their role in the classroom by cultivating student-student interactions that foster educationally meaningful relationships. Classroom communities can be contentious and difficult, so the chapter addresses some of the challenges of teaching and learning in divisive times. The chapter concludes by exploring ways that faculty can work together to create curricula and environments that sustain educational relationships beyond the individual classroom.