Year of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
College of Education & Allied Health
Education and Special Education
Gloria Aquino Sosa
PAR, Higher Education, whiteness, race, identity
This Participatory Action Research (PAR) study engaged Student Affairs and other higher education professionals in the examination of whiteness by seeking to discover the impact that white privilege had on professional practice and to determine what practitioners did to interrupt institutional racism. Participants were 10 staff and faculty members at a small, religiouslyaffiliated college located in an urban area on the West Coast, referred to here as Rosewood Ascension College (RAC). During weekly group meetings over the course of 14 weeks, PAR group members read articles, watched videos, completed reflective journals, engaged in art projects, and participated in interviews in order to further explore the meaning and impact of white privilege on professional practice. Data sources included group sessions, individual follow-up interviews, and action items pursued by the group. The results of the study were threefold. First, over the course of the PAR project, participants gained deeper awareness of the ubiquity of whiteness and developed a clearer sense of their own racialized identities. Second, simultaneous to this internal process of self-discovery, participants experienced a sense of urgency to take action to address racism and white privilege within their own institution. Third, this commitment to action resulted in a series of outcomes pursued by PAR group members over the course of the following year, which ultimately influenced the direction of the College’s strategic plan. This PAR project has implications for Student Affairs and other higher education professionals aiming to establish authentic relationships with all students, to disrupt white privilege, and to create institutional change.
Open Access Dissertation
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
French, Heather, "Examining White Privilege: Participatory Action Research in Higher Education" (2015). All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects. 530.