Lucas Center Blog

Teaching About Race and Racism in the College Classroom

March 09, 2021  / Jackie Greene, Ed.D. 


The Lucas Center for Faculty Development hosts several book groups each semester. In this post, the facilitator and a participant of a recently concluded group comment on the book and their experience of the group. If you have an idea for a book group topic or would like to facilitate a group on a specific book, please contact and a staff member will contact you to discuss your idea.


Teaching About Race and Racism in the College Classroom: Notes from a White Professor by Cyndi Kernahan is a worthy read for all practitioners. Both students and teachers struggle with strong emotions, hidden assumptions, and lack of knowledge about race and racism, making the topics difficult to address in class and in conversations with our colleagues.  However, this is a moment in time when awareness and knowledge are necessary.  Relying on her work in psychology and learning theory, Dr. Kernahan provides evidence and practical strategies to help teachers build confidence and create classroom environments and content to support a more effective learning experience for all.  The resource section provides suggested readings for historical understanding of race and racism, which is key to facilitating learning that is accurate and compassionate. (Dr. Jackie Greene, book group facilitator)

Teaching about sustainability requires addressing issues related to race and racism and often engenders the same kind of resistance to learning when students perceive that their beliefs and attitudes are being threatened. Cyndi Kernahan’s book reminded me that learning is a meandering and messy process rather than a linear one, that I need to accept my students right where they are even when they resist learning, and that my job is to teach in a caring way, not to compel attitude change. (Brenda Thomas Club participant)

For additional information:

  • See HERE for an interview with the author.
  • See HERE for the author’s website.
  • See HERE for a Chronicle of Higher Ed teaching note that references Kernahan’s book and provides additional links to resources on teaching about race and racism.