Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

Tara L. Parker

Second Advisor

John Saltmarsh

Third Advisor

Leticia Tomas Bustillos


While the bulk of the literature has assumed a colorblind approach to examining inequitable outcomes in community college remediation, this study adopts a critical race theoretical and analytical framework to investigate the ways in which the belief systems of faculty teaching remediation are racialized. Whereas the research has largely ignored the central role that teaching practice likely plays in producing inequitable outcomes, this study addresses the urgent need to understand what is happening inside the remedial education classroom. Even as national policy discussions have focused on remedial mathematics reform, this study considers the ways in which literacy instruction in remedial English enforces the norms and discourse of Whiteness and devalues ways of reading, writing, speaking and knowing that the dominant culture has deemed as “other.”

In contrast to traditional educational research methodologies that position practitioners as subjects, this study invited faculty to participate in an action-oriented community of practice aimed at achieving changes in praxis. Over an eight-month period, four faculty teaching remedial English in community colleges that serve large concentrations of students of color engaged in an iterative process of critical reflection, collaborative inquiry and exploratory action. Study findings suggest that faculty teaching remedial English hold socially constructed beliefs about race that have impacted their practice; that remedial English classrooms function as White spaces; that faculty who implement culturally relevant pedagogies in remedial English engage students in learning that values and sustains their cultures, voices and agency; and that engagement in a community of practice grounded in a critical, race-conscious lens can foster changes in faculty praxis. Study findings have profound implications for practitioners, administrators, policy makers and, most importantly, students of color enrolled in community college remediation.


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