All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education & Allied Health

Degree Program

Educational Leadership


Education and Special Education

First Advisor

Sawako Suzuki

Second Advisor

Doug Paxton

Third Advisor

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.


Posted with permission of the author.

Copies in print are available through ProQuest.

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.