Faculty address teaching about race and racism

February 20, 2013

“What exactly is freedom when applied to the many different kinds of learning that can go on in higher education today?”

This was the question speakers were asked to address at the recent Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) annual conference, as part of the theme, “Freedom to Learn.” Dr. Kimberly A. Truong and Dr. Ronald E.L. Brown, faculty members in Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies Doctor of Education degree program, discussed teaching about race and racism in a roundtable discussion with colleagues across higher education.

Dr. Truong and Dr. Brown cover the topic of race and racism with doctoral students in the course, Student Engagement in Higher Education. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

The research Dr. Truong and Dr. Brown presented was entitled, “A phenomenological study on white student leaders’ knowledge and perceptions of race and racism,” and “offered implications for how faculty, administrators, and institutions of higher education can better support student learning about race and racism,” said Truong.

In the classroom, Truong and Brown cover this topic with doctoral students in the course, Student Engagement in Higher Education, which examines influential student development theories and theorists, and analyzes the implications of this work on enrollment management and students in this environment. “This topic is particularly salient for students in the engagement course,” commented Truong.

Truong conducts research on higher education policy and university student experiences through such frameworks as the Critical Race Theory and theoretical perspectives of community cultural wealth.She is the coauthor of numerous publications, including “Responding to Racism and Racial Trauma in Doctoral Study: An Inventory for Coping and Mediation Relationships” in Harvard Educational Review and “Considering cultural context and diversity among Asian American college students in campus climate assessments” in New Directions for Institutional Research.

Brown’s research interests are organizational theory and behavior, public policy and college access, race and ethnicity in higher education, and technology in teaching and learning. He is the coauthor of The Black College Mystique.

The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) promotes collaboration among its members and others engaged in the study of higher education through research, conferences, and publications, including its highly regarded journal, The Review of Higher Education.


Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master’s degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern’s research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.