Fostering Belonging: Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in Education

Method of delivery:
Applications open:
December 1, 2022
Applications close:
July 17, 2023
Next start date:
Fall 2023

This blended Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education (GDE) program, developed in partnership with School District #36, Surrey.

Program Overview

Designed For

This Graduate Diploma in Advanced Professional Studies in Education (GDE) is designed for educators interested in deepening their understanding of diversity, inclusion and belonging in educational settings. The focus is on creating safe, caring, trauma sensitive schools, through building and nourishing communities of belonging.

This Graduate Diploma in Education cohort provides educators within the lower of mainland of British Columbia a Blended Learning experience and for educators outside of lower of mainland of British Columbia a Hybrid Learning experience.

Program Format

  • Two-year, 30 unit program
    • Cohort model, typically 20-30 students with smaller mentor groups
  • Online learning, Tuesdays 4:30pm-8:30pm
  • Includes a one-week in-person Summer Institute in Surrey, B.C. during the weeks of August 19-23, 2024 and August 18-22, 2025.
    • Option for online (hybrid) participation during summer institutes (applicants outside the lower mainland will be given preference)
  • No classes in July, during the winter break or ministry-designated spring break

Program Design

Themes of Study

  • Engaging in teacher inquiry and reflective practice 
  • Connecting educational purposes, beliefs, values, and practices 
  • Examining theories, principles, and frameworks of inclusive education, including diversity, trauma sensitive, and culturally responsive pedagogies 
  • Engaging with Indigenous and holistic approaches to teaching and learning 
  • Designing responsive classroom practices 
  • Creating inclusive, safe and caring environments, which includes understanding socio-cultural perspectives on identity and learning
  • Linking assessment and instruction to address universally diverse learning 
  • Designing quality educational plans for all students with universally diverse individualized learning characteristics 
  • Collaborating, supporting, and strengthening relationships with colleagues, parents, and other educational partners 
  • Building and sustaining collaborative learning communities


Program capacities provide a reflective focus for documenting and self-assessing learning.  At frequent intervals throughout the program, participants and their mentors refer to the capacities to assess progress, to set new goals and to create direction for further learning in field studies.  At the end of the program, each participant’s comprehensive portfolio includes a synthesis of learning and self-assessment of growth in these capacities, supported by evidence of learning.  This program provides opportunities to develop these capacities:

  • Develop a disposition of inquiry and critical reflection to understand and develop your practice. 
  • Create respectful, compassionate, supportive, diverse and inclusive learning environments. 
  • Investigate educational theories and philosophies to inform your practice. 
  • Consult, collaborate and communicate with others to support student learning. 
  • Address social, moral, and ethical issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in education
  • Advocate for students and teachers, develop student self-advocacy and involve parents in educational support for students. 
  • Understand relationships between context, students, and learning

Schedule & Courses

Classes run in the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms of the academic year during the 2-year program.

Year 1

Fall 2023 (September-December)

  • Foundations of Teacher Inquiry
  • Issues in Diversity and Inclusive Education

Spring 2024 (January-April)

  • Frameworks for Supporting Diverse learning communities

Summer 2024 (April-June; August)

  • Holistic Approaches to Teaching and Learning

*You also attend a one-week in-person Summer Institute each year (August 19-23, 2024 & August 18-22, 2025). No classes are scheduled in July.

Year 2

Fall 2024 (September-December)

  • Facilitating Dialogue for Diversity, Equity and Educational Change

Spring 2025 (January-April)

  • Exploring Planning for Holistic Learning and Assessment

Summer 2025 (April-June; August)

  • Reflections on Teaching and Learning
  • Developing Mentorship Networks and Communities of Support

*You also attend a one-week in-person Summer Institute each year (August 19-23, 2024 & August 18-22, 2025). No classes are scheduled in July.

Program Collaborators

Faculty Members

Faculty Associates

District Partners

  • Michelle Schmidt, PhD, Director of Instruction, Student Support, SD #36 Surrey

Future Pathways

Where can this program take you? The world is changing rapidly and so is the full range of career and academic opportunities that await. 

TQS Upgrades

Completion of the diploma allows educators to move from TQS category 4 to 5 or from category 5 to 5+.

Further Studies

Use the credits you've earned completing your GDE program towards earning a Master of Education in Educational Practice (MEd EP). Learn more about the one-year MEd EP program.

Learn more about thIs Program

Curious to know more about the program?

Upcoming Information Sessions