Date of Graduation


Document Type



Studies indicate that the implementation of multiculturalism into university general education course requirements such as introductory American literature is sporadic. Furthermore, although research suggests that faculty are more frequently including multicultural literature in their courses, there is little research concerning what faculty believe about multiculturalism and multicultural education and how faculty actually teach multiculturalism in higher education. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the knowledge of why faculty do or do not implement multiculturalism into their curricula and if they do, how they implement it. This study uses phenomenological and hermeneutic research methods to explore the stances, meaning the sum of personal and professional beliefs and teaching practices, of five university professors teaching introductory American literature courses in a large, public university with a primarily white population. This study also examines factors which influence beliefs and practices toward multiculturalism and the relationships between faculty beliefs, practices, and the factors which influence stance. The study reveals that four out of the five participants include multicultural literature in their course assignments, and that three, and to some extent a fourth, infuse multiculturalism into course content. The fifth participant's stance is almost entirely inconsistent with multiculturalism and multicultural education. The participants reflect three distinct teaching paradigms: the traditional intellectual paradigm, the personal paradigm, and the socio-political paradigm. The traditional teaching paradigm, which focuses on literature only, is inconsistent with multiculturalism. The personal paradigm, which emphasizes student development, and the socio-political paradigm, which focuses on social and political issues, are both consistent with multiculturalism. Four out of the five participants reflect combinations of these paradigms. Each participant's stance provides greater understanding of the beliefs and issues that contribute to multicultural practices and the teaching practices that are consistent and inconsistent with multiculturalism. The study also contributes to the knowledge about stance, faculty cognition, belief change, and the relationship between beliefs and teaching practices.