Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Shuaib Meacham, Honors Thesis Advisor, Curriculum and Instruction


In teacher preparation programs across the country, racial discourse has grown in relevance and become an increasingly common aspect of teacher preparation programs. This study will explore the perceptions of preservice teachers on topics of race. Through a research survey of 120 current University of Northern Iowa preservice teachers, this study will explore and analyze how current UNI preservice teachers view and define racism and antiracism, where the participants place themselves on a racial literacy continuum, and how they value antiracist racial literacy in their future careers as teachers. Antiracist education is necessary for teacher education programs because the grade school student population is diversifying while the preservice teacher population remains majority white, female, and middle-class. White teachers need to be taught how racism is embedded in society, how it impacts daily life for people of color, and how to combat the bias within themselves. The first step to move preservice teachers toward antiracism is to understand their current stance on the topic. After analyzing the responses, I focused on how the participants defined racism and antiracism using institutional, ideological, and/or personal/community language. The results show that preservice teachers at UNI have a primarily individual and ideological view of racism. The antiracism definitions focused primarily on intentional actions in individual and community-based ways. Most preservice teachers viewed themselves as antiracists, but again, a majority of the response only mentioned personal actions or beliefs. Despite the lack of institutional understanding, most participants view antiracist racial literacy development as an essential aspect of teacher education. They desire and value antiracist development in their education programs and see the use for their future careers as teachers.

Year of Submission



Department of Curriculum and Instruction

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (1 volume (unnumbered))



File Format