School of Education authors recognized for work to improve racial climate in teacher education programs

Author: David Danelski
February 22, 2023

Award winners
From top left, Rita Kohli, Uma Mazyck Jayakumar, Eddie Comeaux, Arturo Nevárez, Andrea Carreno Cortez, and Margarita Vizcarra.

Several UCR School of Education faculty members and graduate students will be honored for writing a groundbreaking journal article that provides a road map to improve the racial climates of teacher education programs, guiding teacher educators and leaders to meet the needs of a diverse teaching force.

Titled, “Toward a Healthy Racial Climate: Systemically Centering the Well-being of Teacher Candidates of Color,” the article was published in 2022 in the Journal of Teacher Education, the leading research journal for teacher education. It was chosen by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education for the association’s 2023 Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education Article Award. The authors will be recognized at the AACTE’s 75th Annual Meeting, February 24 to 26 in Indianapolis, Ind.

Associate professor Rita Kohli was the lead author of the article. The collaborating team and co-authors included UCR associate professor Uma Mazyck Jayakumar; UCR associate dean and professor Eddie Comeaux; and UCR graduate students Arturo Nevárez, Andrea Carreno Cortez, and the late Margarita Vizcarra. (Nevárez is now an assistant professor at Cal State Stanislaus and Cortez is a doctoral student at the University of Washington in Seattle.)

Other co-authors were Alison G. Dover and Nick Henning of California State University Fullerton; and 

Darlene Lee and Emma Hipolito both from the University of California Los Angeles.

The article built upon higher education scholarship and research on campus racial climate to explore how the dimensions of teacher education programs—including historical, organizational, compositional, behavioral, and psychological factors—accumulate and shape the experiences and well-being of teacher candidates of color. Shifting from race-evasive to racially literate approaches that acknowledge institutional racism, the authors offered a model for teacher educators to reflect on their structures to work toward a healthy racial climate that is responsive to the needs of a diverse teaching workforce.

“AACTE is proud to highlight the exceptional work of researchers from the University of California Riverside, California State Fullerton, and the University of California Los Angeles for their exemplary education scholarship advancing the profession,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE’s president and CEO. 

The journal article project was supported by the California Teacher Education Research and Innovation Network and the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity. The award was co-sponsored by Sage Publications.