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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Sharon Zumbrunn


This dissertation focuses on (a) exploring the need for and strategies to facilitate the integration of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and educational psychology and (b) supporting Black and Latine students through examining the impact of systems of power via the integration of belonging and Critical Race Theory. This dissertation follows a three-paper format. In Paper 1, we recognize that psychology researchers can use CRT to explore race and racism. However, psychology scholars may confront growing pains when integrating CRT due to their respective inquiry worldviews–postpositivism and critical–which result in several tensions. These tensions may limit the uptake of CRT in psychology and cause people to not understand CRT. Therefore, we describe CRT and related frameworks, tensions when integrating CRT into psychology, and strategies to attenuate the tensions. In Paper 2, the case study drew from the belonging opportunities structures and CRT literatures to investigate Black and Latine STEM undergraduate students’ (N = 9) experiences of instructional belonging opportunity structures and which structures impacted their belonging to explore how instructors and administrators can support belonging. Based on interview and syllabus data, students had experiences related to all Belonging-Centered Instruction instructional opportunity subdimension. We discuss implications for practice, research, and policy. In Paper 3, undergraduate students, who were participants in the case study, and I provide recommendations on what instructors and administrators can do to support Black and Latine students’ belonging in STEM while drawing from CRT. Our recommendations include both instructor practices and practices administrators and universities can support.


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