UCR professor receives grant to probe racial barriers in teacher education programs

January 19, 2023
Author: UCR News
January 19, 2023

Rita Kohli, an associate professor in the UCR School of Education, has received a $50,000 grant from the Chicago-based Spencer Foundation to probe the experiences of teacher educators of color as they navigate systemic racism in teacher education programs throughout the United States.

Rita Kohli
Rita Kohli

The project will build upon findings from previous research where Kohli and her co-investigator, Marcos Pizarro of San José State University, collected responses to short answer qualitative questionnaires from teacher educators of color across the country and learned that teacher education programs are often structured to create racial inequities and harm. 

This work revealed a need for a more in-depth and complex inquiry into the impacts of racism these educators experience. The grant will allow Kohli and Pizarro to learn what racial barriers teacher educators of color face, how they resist these barriers, what they envision for the future, and what resources they and their colleagues need to usher in equity.

Kohli is a former Oakland Unified School District teacher and co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice. She currently serves as the coordinator for UCR Teacher Education Program's K-12 Ethnic Studies Pathway.

The Spencer Foundation funds educational research to improve education, make education systems more equitable, and increase opportunities for people to continue learning across their lifespans.