Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

Steven Myran

Committee Member

Rachel White

Committee Member

Jori Beck


Using a theoretical framework of critical race theory and conceptual frameworks of cultural education, this study explores the intersection of district-university partnerships and culturally responsive education. The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to examine the formulation and outcomes of a district-university partnership established to offer a college level course focused on anti-discrimination, equity and inclusion, and social justice in schools. Using survey data, I explored the relationship between participation in the course and the participants’ self-reflection in the areas of empathic concern and perspective taking, preparation for culturally responsive teaching and equitable practices, and comfortability with discussions about race. I conducted three interviews with course developers in the school district related to the sustainability of the partnership and the impact of the social-political context on the curriculum design. In addition, I examined how participants’ discourse during the course was reflective of empathic concern and perspective taking. Findings revealed participation in the course impacted educators’ self-reflection, and provided opportunities for discourse reflective of empathic concern and perspective taking. The district-university partnership demonstrated four elements of sustainability: well-defined administrative structure, clear focus, shared decision making, and ongoing process of evaluation. This research study will contribute to the field’s understanding of district-university partnerships in a rural setting, to school districts considering university-district partnership opportunities, and to universities and practitioners training current educators on culturally responsive practices.


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