Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Rosemary B. Closson, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

William Young, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.


Critical race theory, Portraiture, Graduate adult learners, race, Racism, Adult education


Adult education is a reciprocal relationship between adult learners and adult education practitioners. As such, it is essential to understand the experiences of adult educators and adult education practitioners as they teach adults. This study focuses on how ideas about race and racism are examined in the graduate-level classroom and the adult learners’ experience as they focus on subject matter that challenges their assumptions and forces them to create new understandings about race. This study examines, through the portraiture methodology, the experiences of a White researcher and the adult learners engaging in dialogues about race in a CRT course.

The findings of this study include an examination of my role as a White researcher engaging in dialogues in this CRT course, including an inquiry into my silences, trepidation, and feelings of helplessness during the classroom interactions. I also examine the ways in which the adult learners who participated in this course communicated their ideas to their peers as well as the understandings and misunderstandings of the themes presented in the course.