Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Ellen L. Usher


Instructors’ beliefs and behaviors shape students’ learning environments (Bandura, 2007). Culturally responsive teaching can make instruction more relevant and supportive to historically marginalized students (Gay, 2000, 2018). Instructor support and care for students are important to undergraduate persistence (Tinto, 1986, 1993). However, White postsecondary instructors may not feel prepared to use culturally responsive teaching (Heitner & Jennings, 2016; Sue et al., 2009). This study used a sequential mixed-methods design to examine postsecondary instructors’ self-perceptions, and students’ lived experiences, related to culturally responsive teaching. In Fall 2020, instructors (N = 99) rated their self-efficacy for culturally responsive teaching on a six-point scale (= 4.71, SD = 0.91). Racially and ethnically minoritized undergraduates (N = 9) were recruited using purposive sampling from the courses of instructors who reported high self-efficacy. Qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews indicated that students perceived their instructors as highly caring and capable. Instructors incorporated students’ racial identities into curriculum and displayed willingness to challenge discrimination. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic challenged learning and instruction, students perceived their instructors as creating supportive and motivating learning environments. This research offers a student-focused interpretation of how pedagogy can be culturally responsive to racially and ethnically minoritized undergraduates.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)