Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Terry Huffman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dane Joseph, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jay Mathisen, Ed.D.


Increasing disparities in academic success created a mandate for higher education professionals to navigate all possible ways to include diverse students in equal learning opportunities. As a result of this mandate, higher educational faculty and administrators are gaining greater awareness on the need for culturally responsive practice (CRP) in college teaching. This dissertation reports the findings of a case study on the philosophy and implementation of CRP among three white professors with a reputation as effective and culturally sensitive instructors at a small liberal arts university. Five themes emerged: 1) Participants’ prior interaction with diversity both at personal and professional levels informed their effective CRP; 2) Participants built their instruction on student voice; 3) Participants demonstrated three levels of sensitivity including self-awareness, diversity-awareness, and attunement to diversity; 4) Participants shared a clear intentionality of CRP; and 5) participants identified mentorship-based professional learning (MBPL) as the best way to support faculty who desire to become proficient in CRP. Findings also revealed it is important to integrate an equity-oriented framework into responsive caring, responsive communication, responsive curriculum, and responsive instruction. This dissertation has implications for scholarship, educational practice, and policy. First, it supplements the literature with insights into improving CRP in culturally dominant higher education settings. Second, it offers a lens from white faculty’s perspectives on teaching philosophies and strategies associated with CRP. Lastly, it informs institutions of ways to support faculty in developing CRP and ultimately diverse students for education equity and social justice.

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Education Commons