Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. Kathryn Hollywood


This study explored challenges related to issues of diversity for faculty members teaching in nontraditional adult degree completion programs. The problem addressed was an increasing expectation that faculty members facilitate learning to help increase the cultural proficiency of their students without having prior training or needed experience. A critical appreciative inquiry (CAI) case study methodology with a transformative conceptual framework was used to explore the intersection of effective adult learning paradigms and multicultural competence. The primary research question addressed the cultural competence challenges that faculty members confront when teaching in the adult classroom. A purposeful sample of 188 faculty members was selected to take a self-reflective survey. Ten participants then self-selected to participate in follow-up focus groups and interviews. Qualitative data analysis was conducted through line-by-line analysis resulting in emergent themes, both in the self-reflective survey and in the focus groups and interviews, and then filtered through the change process phases of CAI. Findings revealed a need for further knowledge about diversity scholarship and identity formation, particularly related to sociocultural power differentials that may impact student learning engagement. The resulting project was a training module with opportunities for follow-up faculty learning communities to deepen learning about inclusive practice. Positive implications for social change included, but were not limited to, increased critical consciousness for faculty members and the successful use of CAI as a methodology for facilitating nondefensive dialogue in faith-based institutions of higher learning.