Title page for ETD etd-11152010-131223

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Loftin, Jennifer Kristine
Author's Email Address jloftin@lsu.edu
URN etd-11152010-131223
Title White Faculty as Racial Justice Allies at a Predominantly White Institution
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mitchell, Roland Committee Chair
Asher, Nina Committee Member
Bourke, Brian Committee Member
Cheek, Earl Committee Member
Constant, David Dean's Representative
  • ally identity development
  • social justice
  • faculty work
Date of Defense 2010-11-05
Availability unrestricted
This qualitative study uses the conceptual framework of critical race theory to examine the experiences of White faculty as racial justice allies at a predominantly White institution. Kobrak (1992) has emphasized the significant role that socially concerned White faculty may play on our campuses, describing these faculty as the “missing link” in institutional efforts for diversity. However, little is known about the experiences of White faculty allies.

The current study addresses this void through the primary research question: What are the experiences of White faculty at a predominantly White institution who participate in the campus community as racial justice allies? This overarching question is investigated through supporting questions: (1) How do these White faculty come to be / identify as allies?; (2) How do the positions of White faculty as allies affect their scholarly work of teaching, research and service?; and (3) How is their ally work influenced by the context of the predominantly White institution?

This study was conducted at a large, research-extensive, public flagship university in the South. Data were collected through in-person interviews with nine faculty participants representing a variety of academic disciplines. These participants were identified through a sampling process that included nominations from students, faculty, and administrators at the selected institution.

The findings from this study suggest that ally mentors or models and experiences that contribute to an understanding of race and racism are important factors in the development of racial justice allies among White faculty. These findings also illuminate a variety of strategies though which these faculty integrate their ally identities and their professional responsibilities of teaching, research, and service. Finally, the faculty participants describe the manner in which the community, departmental, and institutional contexts of their faculty work within the predominantly White campus shape their critique of the institution and their perceived need to continue the work of racial justice.

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