Trauma-Informed Teaching & Learning Guidelines

Principles Suggested Practices
Safety of Wellbeing
  • Establish community agreements and a netiquette policy
  • Provide continuous feedback using low-stakes assessments
  • Be aware of the ways that our actions and policies as faculty could, intentionally or unintentionally, inflict harm or trauma on students through our language, unexamined assumptions, grading, etc.
Know Your Students
  • Be familiar with your students’ demographics and needs
  • Be aware of students’ traumas and current life situations
  • Offer space for students to process and share experiences with peers and/or you as instructors
Clear Expectations & Boundaries
  • Provide clear student expectations with grading, submitting assignments, and participation in class
  • Offer students choices of topics when requiring reflection assignments or projects on traumatic subjects
  • Respect the limits of your expertise — assign work within the scope of your competency
  • Provide multiple ways to access course content — including with technology-enhanced options
  • Create opportunities for students to voice their ideas and opinions on different platforms
  • Integrate and invite sharing of personal experiences related to course content
  • Be present in class and actively engage with students
  • Provide frequent opportunities for group work for assignments or projects; be mindful of how much time is spent outside of class
  • Create an open space for students to collaborate on activities to activate problem solving skills
Empowering Students
  • Encourage students to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and freedom to leverage personal experiences
  • Offer students choices in topics of inquiry and debate
  • Challenge students to consider their identities as community changemakers and promote social justice
Sociocultural Diversity
  • Adapt your curricula to address current issues of diversity and oppression, acknowledging the agency of groups actively challenging oppression
  • Acknowledge assets that students bring to their learning
  • Foster inclusive excellence — finding common ground among diverse communities — and celebrate diversity
  • Acknowledge yours and your students’ growth and change
  • Solicit feedback from students and use it to improve current course delivery in response to learning needs
  • Be proactive in recognizing when students are struggling

Campus Resources Available to USF Faculty

Department or Division Contact
Tracy Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) Email:
Phone: (415) 422-2110
Educational Technology Services (ETS) Email:
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offered by CONCERN Log into CONCERN for consultations
Manager’s Guide to Workplace Trauma (PDF)
Phone: (800) 344-4222

Campus Resources Available to USF Students

Department or Division Contact
Center for Academic and Student Achievement (CASA) CASA Virtual Front Desk (via Zoom)
Schedule an Appointment (select CASA)
Phone: +1 (415) 422-5050
Student Disability Services (SDS) SDS COVID-19 Announcements
Phone: +1 (415) 422-2613
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Daytime Phone: +1 (415) 422-6352
After Hours/Emergencies: +1 (855) 531-0761

If you are having a life-threatening emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Health Promotion Services (HPS) Schedule a Zoom Appointment
Phone: (415) 422-5797
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Email:
Phone: +1 (415) 422-2654
Learning, Writing & Speaking Centers (LWSCs) Schedule an Appointment (select Learning, Writing, & Speaking Centers)
Phone: +1 (415) 422-6713