Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Teacher Education

Committee Member

Ethan Lowenstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dorinda Carter Andrews, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Nancy Copeland, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Deborah Harmon, Ph.D.


This qualitative dissertation explored the perceptions of three teacher candidate/alumni who were in a teacher preparation program. The three teacher candidate/alumni shared their experiences and readiness to teach culturally diverse students in K-12 settings. This study also examined the development of a teacher preparation program at a Midwest university. In addition to the voices of the three teacher candidate/alumni, the perspectives of three program developers were also engaged and analyzed. A top-down and open-coding method of data analysis was used in this study. A mini exploratory case study research design was utilized, and participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview process to explore the following research questions: (a) How does a place- and community-based teacher preparation program inform teacher candidates' preparation for teaching Black students? (b) How do instructors within the program describe their approach for preparing teacher candidates to teach Black students? (c) How do teacher candidates describe their preparation for teaching Black students? The five key themes that emerged from the teacher candidate and alumni interviews were: community, care, cultural proficiency, relationships, and place-based education. Examining this research informs teacher preparation programs on best practices for teachers who may teach culturally diverse students since the number of Black, Latinx, and Asian populations are increasing in the United States. In addition, this study demonstrated how a place-based teacher preparation program can influence teacher candidates’ understanding of culturally responsive teaching. Overall findings revealed that the place-based education model adequately prepared them to enter a culturally diverse classroom and teach effectively.

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