Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Franklin A. Tuitt, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ryan E. Gildersleeve

Third Advisor

Judy Marquez-Kiyama


Cultural historical activity theory, Race, Student affairs


In recent years student activism on college campuses has called for new and more equitable racial policies, practices, and pedagogies. Both fueled by and fertile ground for social movements, colleges and universities have mirrored national protests and calls for action toward the democratic imperative of higher education. However, often student affairs administrators have struggled in conceptualizing their roles in engaging students. How were they prepared for this? This research seeks the answer this question - how, if at all, are student affairs practitioners being prepared to work on more racially diverse college campuses?

Grounded in cultural-historical activity theory (Engeström, 2001) and critical race theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Yosso, 2002), this research provides analysis of the ways in which student affairs programs engage para-practitioners in racial learning and development. Specifically, this research utilizes a critical case study analysis (Stake, 2005; Yin, 2014) to explore how one higher education and student affairs master's program works to make racial learning and development toward advocacy possible. In doing so this research exposes the reproductive of normative and dominant discourses in national standards and competency documents often used to evaluation para-practitioner learning and the tension experienced as the program at stake attempts to aid para-practitioners in navigating the complex object of racial learning. Implications for teaching and learning, practice, and research present possibilities of affect and emotionality as locations for racial learning, as well as proposing a shift from faculty notions of expertise to shared and consistent learning.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kristin Lee Deal


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

286 p.


Higher education

Included in

Education Commons