Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Catherine DiMartino

Second Advisor

Katherine Aquino

Third Advisor

Cecilia Parnther


Research has shown the systemic biases and discrimination persist in higher education. While the literature has demonstrated how culturally responsive teaching (CRT) and culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) can help teachers and students develop their understanding of the otherness that they do not know exist (Bond, 2017; Gay, 2002; Ladson-Billings, 2014; Shaw, 2012), arts integration and the benefits of arts for non-arts majors students have been loosely tied into the awareness and development of cultural competence. The gaps in existing research have led to the need for examining the connection between cultural competence (as intended by CRT and CRP) and arts integration in higher education. The purpose of this study was to propose a framework for examining college teachers and students’ ability to be aware, observe, and understand cultural competence through their experience of arts integration in the curriculum. This qualitative study employed grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2014) methodology and was conducted in a two-year public community college with a racially and ethnically diverse student body. The researcher bridged the gaps in the existing literature by connecting the findings and implications from previous studies on CRT, CRP, arts education, arts integration, and cultural competence while focusing the setting within culturally related courses available for all students in the research site. The researcher triangulated the data collection of this study by hosting focus group discussions with the students who have taken said courses, conducting individual interviews with teachers of said courses, and gathering course-related documents including syllabi and class observation memos. The data collected were analyzed to build a theoretical framework, based on concepts and themes emerging from the findings that demonstrated the variety, complexity, and possibility of using arts integration in culturally focused courses in higher education. As an innovative tool to tackle the systemic biases, discrimination, and inequalities in higher education, the framework allows practitioners, leaders, and policymakers to examine the connection, potentials, and feasibilities of utilizing arts integration to foster the cultural competence of college teachers and students.

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Art Education Commons