Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



Piowlski, L. (2013). Culturally Proficient Teachers. PhD dissertation, University of Nebraska - Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership in Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Marilyn Grady. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 18, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Lori Piowlski


Action needs to be taken by teacher preparation programs to prepare culturally proficient educators who are able to deliver equitable instruction and inspire all students to strive for greatness if the achievement gap is to be closed. Existing literature mainly describes the importance and urgency to prepare future teachers for the changing demographics with classrooms across the United States. There is not significant literature on how it is being done. Therefore the purpose of this qualitative study was to discover how university teacher education programs are preparing teachers to be culturally proficient. A cross-reference of data collected from Adequate Yearly Progress Reports and the 2010 U.S. Census indicated that California is the state most challenged to address the changing demographics within schools and the academic crisis in student achievement. The twenty-three California State University teacher education programs were extensively researched and a matrix was developed to explain the transparency of diversity within their program structures. The case study then identified four world leaders of diversity through purposeful sampling, whose interviews drew upon their experience with preparing teachers to be culturally proficient in the state of California identified cultural proficient components that would enhance teacher education programs to create educators that are equipped to educate all 21st century learners. The conclusions derived fall in three components: faculty development, sustainable support systems, and cultural proficient implementation elements. The major contribution this research makes to existing literature is about the “how” to embed cultural proficiency into teacher education programs to ultimately prepare future educators to close the achievement gap.

Advisor: Marilyn Grady