Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Higher Education PhD

First Advisor

John Saltmarsh

Second Advisor

Cheryl Ching

Third Advisor

Mary Deane Sorcinelli


Pedagogical practices traditionally used by faculty in U.S. higher education tend to value and center white students and their success, simultaneously disregarding the learning strengths of Students of Color. The misalignment of pedagogical practices with how Students of Color may learn best could be contributing to completion gaps between white students and Students of Color. To close these gaps, it is imperative for faculty to shift their pedagogical practices to ones that uplift, honor, and resonate with Students of Color, particularly white faculty who continue to be the majority among the professoriate. Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) is a pedagogical practice that may align better with the learning strengths and preferences of Students of Color, as CRP seeks to recognize, value, celebrate, and integrate multiple cultures into academic experiences, as well as holds students to high academic expectations. However, white faculty use of CRP is limited and/or superficial, especially in academic disciplines other than education.

Given that faculty may be able to learn from those who are working to go against traditional pedagogical practices and norms, the purpose of this multiple case study was to examine how white faculty from a diverse range of disciplines come to understand and enact CRP. Findings included how a faculty’s context and white racial consciousness have an impact on the ways white faculty do (and do not) learn about and implement CRP. Therefore, two primary implications of this study are that in order to understanding and utilize CRP effectively, contexts must be ripe for anti-racist teaching practices, and white faculty must be aware of the ways their whiteness impacts their beliefs, values, and practice of teaching and learning. Addressing these implications is critical because the more that faculty utilize pedagogies that better resonate with the learning strengths of Students of Color, the more opportunities there will be for Students of Color to feel and be successful in higher education.