Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Thomas W. Bean

Committee Director

Judith Dunkerly-Bean

Committee Member

Lamar Reams


The overarching goal of this research is to make proverbial payments towards Ladson-Billings’ (2006) “education debt” owed to historically resilient populations by promoting equitable and democratic practices in all facets of education. Black men, specifically those who participate in athletics, are advocated for in this research because these men identify as part of a community of voices who are not only historically oppressed but are being failed by current educational practices. Further, student-athletes provide a predetermined and specific sociocultural context, and thus social location, by which to compare how various types of critical literacy assignments are addressing said contexts. Using a bricolage theoretical framework of critical sociocultural theory and critical literacy, a critical discourse analysis evaluates the course documents and assignments provisioned to students enrolled in 100- and 200-level general education courses. Using Kynard and Eddy’s (2009) coalition building framework, over 180 artifacts were reviewed and analyzed. Findings indicate that while faculty are willing to allow students to explore their sociocultural identities in isolation, classroom spaces—both physically and metaphorically speaking—are not yet being used to critically incorporate the diverse social situations of diverse student populations. Recommendations encourage faculty to consider students the expert learners they are in order to promote democratic and socially just curriculum and pedagogy in higher education classrooms.