Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Eric M. Sauer

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Paula Andrasi

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Samuel T. Beasley


Sexual orientation, multicultural, intersectionality, race, diversity, faculty


The inclusion of sexual orientation and race-related issues into mainstream psychology has gained much needed momentum in recent years. The field of counseling psychology, in particular, has helped fuel this momentum with its appreciation for, and commitment to, developing academic and applied psychologists who attend to an evolving multicultural society. Within the academic environment, faculty members have the responsibility of facilitating student learning in their respective classrooms; this facilitation becomes challenging in the face of emotionally charged topics such as race and sexual orientation. How then do graduate faculty who teach these courses experience race and sexual orientation comingling within the classroom? How do faculty promote student vulnerability around sensitive topics? Additionally, how do faculty members manage their own insecurities, perceived lack of knowledge, or personal biases in their teachings around race and sexual orientation? Questions such as these have far-reaching implications for the training and practice of professional psychology; however, little empirical research has addressed how faculty experience race and sexual orientation issues emerging alongside one another in graduate classrooms.

Participants from this study were twelve doctoral-level faculty teaching multicultural counseling courses in APA-Accredited Counseling Psychology programs. Utilizing a qualitative phenomenological framework, participants engaged in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. A total of 6 main themes emerged across participants: Generational Training Influences Faculty Multicultural Perspectives, Departmental Culture Impacts Multicultural Teaching, Socio-political Influences on Multicultural Teaching, Faculty Exploration of Personal and Teaching Philosophies, Student Reactions and Barriers Around Race/Sexual Orientation Intersections, and Multicultural and Intersectional Conversations Extend Beyond Classroom. These themes are translated into a collective narrative representing findings across all participants and are then viewed in lieu of previously published scholarship and research. Further implications for training and practice, a critique of the study, directions for future research, and final participant reflections are also addressed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access