What is our civic responsibility as educators after the presidential election on Nov. 3rd? This is a difficult question to consider at a time when tensions are high, certainty is low, and our energy is waning.

How will we integrate this moment into our courses or class discussions? Should we? What if we didn’t? What if we did? Here at CAFE, we know that faculty across campus and across the country are asking

these same questions.  So, our staff decided to pull together resources that might be helpful as we prepare for November 4th.

As you know, this election feels different than previous cycles. Consideration of how election outcomes could affect our community are reflected well in the article, Preparing to Teach about the 2020 Election (and After):

The high stakes of the 2020 Election are deeply felt by members of our campus community and the results of this election will produce disparate impacts for students and instructors alike. When preparing to discuss the election and its results, it is important for you to consider what is ‘at stake’ for the members of the classroom community.

That statement reminds us that we cannot assume similarity of thought or impact among students, faculty, and staff post-election. You might want to check out the entire article for more information on

how classroom discussions might affect students differently. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help us teach effectively in the context of a high-stakes election.

Three resources that we found useful offer suggestions on how to discuss the value of voting Talking About Elections in Your Classroom, how to effectively Facilitate Controversial Discussions regarding the election, and

how to consider the potentially strong emotional responses that students may have after the election Teaching in Response to the Election. Some of us might be thinking that politics won’t come up in our classrooms.

While that may be true, you might find this article on how to navigate spontaneous discussions in your classroom that might otherwise catch us off guard: Guidelines for Discussing Difficult or High-Stakes Topics.

Regardless of your discipline or course topic, it is appropriate to acknowledge the moment if you wish, even if it is divergent from your planned discussions. Stanford University encourages you to ACT:

Anticipate the need to support students, Create space for students to process their reactions, and Tie current events into course learning. By doing so, we can foster meaningful discussions that help develop our citizen leaders.

Thank you for your good work in the classroom. Please contact us at CAFE if you have any questions or would like to discuss approaches to teaching after the election in more detail.