Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Charlene Johnson Carter

Committee Member

Ed Bengtson

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Beasley


Critical Race Theory;Diversification of the teacher pipeline;Predominantly White Institutions;Racialized Identity;Teacher Preparation;Underrepresentation


This study addresses the problem concerning the lack of Teacher Candidates of Color (TCOCs) in teacher education. It examines recruitment, support, and retention by identifying promises and pitfalls of diversifying the teacher pipeline through the voices of Students of Color (SOCs) who are already enrolled in teacher education. How race and racialization processes influence TCOCs was salient to the study. Through qualitative case study, the researcher explored the lived experiences of teacher candidates with racialized identities being prepared to teach within one Predominately White Institution (PWI). Using a Critical Race Theory framework, four research questions guided this study: (1) What are the backgrounds and educational histories of Teacher Candidates of Color? (2) How have racialized identities contributed to Teacher Candidates of Color’s interest in the teaching profession? (3) How are racialized identities afforded and constrained in predominantly White learning contexts? and (4) What experiences coalesce across Teacher Candidates of Color within one Predominately White Institution? Purposeful sampling was used to select six Teacher Candidates of Color from three teacher preparation programs within the University of Arkansas. Data were collected through sixteen semi-structured interviews and one focus group that resulted in four overarching themes that align with the four guiding research questions, (1) Intersections of History and Biography, (2) Reckoning with Racism and Race-Neutrality, (2) Race-conscious Engagement in Predominantly White Spaces, and (3) Seeking Common Ground. The study uncovered myriad ways that negotiating racialized identity results in a persistent disquiet with normative experiences found in TCOCs’ backgrounds, K-12 experiences, and within PWIs. Through counternarratives, participants’ experiential knowledge was centered and yielded idiosyncratic and collective findings that revealed reverberating impacts of the persistent underrepresentation of Teachers of Color in K-12 and higher education. Recommendations are made for research to develop a more inclusive praxis for the preparation of diverse teacher candidates as well as recommendations for practice for how Teacher Candidates of Color can be better supported in Predominately White Institutions.