Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Tara L. Parker

Second Advisor

Katalin Szelenyi

Third Advisor

Franklin A. Tuitt


Faculty contribute to the campus racial climate for all students, but particularly for students of color, and play a significant role in shaping intellectual, social, and behavioral standards through their pedagogical practice (Hurtado, Milem, Clayton-Petersen, & Allen, 1998; Solózano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000; Rankin & Reason, 2005). Despite modest gains in late years, gaps persist in Bachelor's degree attainment among White, Black, and Hispanic students (Aud et al., 2012). White faculty, who represent approximately 80 percent of faculty across all types of American post-secondary institutions have a particular responsibility to take action (Snyder & Dillow, 2012). The conceptual framework for this narrative study blended elements from White identity development theory (Helms, 1990; Helms, 2008), multicultural education (Paccione, 2000), and culturally relevant pedagogical practice (Ladson- Billings, 1994; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Ladson-Billings, 2000). More specifically, my study explored the ways White college faculty made sense of their racial and ethnic identity and how their lived experiences transformed their pedagogical practice. Data included faculty interviews, classroom observations, and review of course materials. The data, in the form of faculty narratives, were analyzed to understand how the participants found meaning in the experiences, relationships, and turning points that influenced their pedagogical practice.

The five themes that emerged from faculty narratives were (a) Birth cohort, neighborhood and cultural events; (b) influence of memories that contributed to evolving White identities; (c) humanistic worldview; (d) culturally relevant pedagogical practice without formal graduate school preparation; and (e) pedagogical practice characterized by validation; high expectations and high support; and intentionally promoting cross-racial interactions in class. Implications for practice and policy include the need to create formal opportunities for graduate students and early career faculty to work with mentors of color as they fine tune their interactions with students and pedagogical practices. Faculty need to find opportunities to attend to student voices in the form of in-course assessments and institutional student assessment data to make meaningful adjustments to their pedagogical practice for all students, and particularly for students of color.


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