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Kenneth Fasching-Varner

Kenneth Fasching-Varner

Assistant Professor
Elementary and Foundations Education
Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice
LSU College of Education

What was your previous position and where?

Prior to coming to LSU, I was an assistant professor of literacy and bilingual education at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisc. I received my Ph.D. in language, literacy and culture from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, with a specialization in critical race theory and qualitative research. Prior to pursuing my Ph.D., I was a classroom teacher in Rochester, N.Y., for second and fourth grade bilingual education, as well as a high school and middle school special education and Spanish teacher.

What brought you to LSU?

I grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and had the great fortune of having several teachers from the South as part of an effort to have teachers from the south in the North. A few of those teachers were from South Louisiana and I grew up in school with very rich stories about this area. As a child I was, and continue to be, a New Orleans Saints fan. My doctoral advisor is from New Orleans, and it seems my whole life I have had rich connections to this area. When I saw the position advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education at LSU, I was excited because the position was a natural fit to my areas of expertise — foundations and elementary education — and my personal interest in this area. It has been an incredible experience to live in South Louisiana.

What is your research interest?

I am particularly interested in white racial identity development and how educators, both pre-service and in-service, negotiate their racial identities, particularly when there are mismatches between teacher and student identity. Additionally, I am interested in how critical race theory can be used as a theoretical tool to develop more depth and breadth of understanding racial identity. Finally, I am interested in the racialized implications of the school-to-prison pipeline.

What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?

My hope is to work with educators to help them develop into critical and thoughtful, culturally relevant practitioners. Through my scholarship, teaching and service, I hope to impact K-12 students by preparing the adult educators who work with them in meaningful ways. I am particularly driven by civic engagement in a democratic society and promoting free and public education to promote the ideals of a democratic existence. I am thoroughly excited about the developments within our new organization — the College of Human Sciences & Education — to merge and expand programs to include colleagues from other disciplines who are also concerned with the ideals of democratic engagement. Through collaboration with our new colleagues, I am hopeful that as a member of this new unit my work will contribute to promoting engaged citizenship in Louisiana and beyond.

What do you enjoy most about LSU?

I have never felt as professionally engaged as I do at LSU. My colleagues across campus are amazing, thoughtful and leading scholars in a variety of disciplines. Within the College of Education, I am honored to work with amazing colleagues and students in an intellectually rich environment. And it should go without saying that the Tiger spirit is among the most amazing collegiate environments in the world — our students, faculty and staff really do "Love Purple" and "Live Gold." Where else do you have a tiger living on campus?

What are your major accomplishments?

Major accomplishments as of late include an edited book, "Occupying the Academy: Just How Important is Diversity in Education," which is coming out in August, and a single authored book on racial identity which will come out late in 2012 or early 2013. Both of these projects have been major undertakings, and represent my professional and personal commitments.


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