Chezare A. Warren to Receive AACTE Award for Dissertation on Teacher Empathy in Multicultural Settings

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(Feb. 19, 2014, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) will present its 2014 Outstanding Dissertation Award to Chezare A. Warren, Ph.D., for his study of the conception, relevance and benefits of empathy as a professional disposition of teachers in multicultural education settings aiming to be culturally responsive. The award, which recognizes excellence in doctoral dissertation research that contributes to the knowledge base of educator preparation or of teaching and learning with implications for educator preparation, will be presented March 3 at AACTE’s 66th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

Warren completed his dissertation, Empathic Interaction: White Female Teachers and Their Black Male Students, in 2012 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The study posed the question, “What is empathy’s utility for helping white female teachers negotiate interactions with their black male students?” Through his research, Warren aimed to empirically operationalize the application and utility of empathy for cross-racial or cross-cultural school stakeholder relationships.

AACTE’s Committee on Research and Dissemination, which reviewed submissions for the dissertation award, was impressed with the conceptualization of empathy advanced in the study, the development of an empathy survey that might be used by other teacher educators in the field and the qualitative inquiry conducted to understand the utility of empathy in four teachers’ day-to-day interactions with their students.

“The study both addresses an ongoing tension in the field—the sociocultural differences among those choosing teaching and students in our schools—and offers theoretical as well as practical tools to design teacher preparation experiences that support candidates’ development of empathy,” said Jennie Whitcomb, Ph.D., chair of AACTE’s committee and associate dean for teacher education at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “This line of work offers teacher educators insights into how developing empathy might in turn foster improvements in how teachers communicate and respond to students across race, class and gender lines.”

“Trained as a social foundations scholar, Chezare had to design a research project that considered multiple disciplinary perspectives to answer his question, and he combined quantitative and qualitative methods to improve the depth and trustworthiness of his findings,” said Steven E. Tozer, Ph.D., professor in the University of Illinois Chicago’s Educational Policy Studies program and Warren’s program adviser and dissertation chairperson. “I greatly respect and admire Chezare’s commitment to ethical research that humanizes the research participants while at the same time maintaining the highest standards of rigorous qualitative inquiry.”

Warren is currently a post-doctoral research fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. His first peer-reviewed journal article based on his dissertation appeared in The Urban Review in August 2013.

For more information on AACTE’s 2014 award winners, visit


AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE’s reach and influence fuels its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.

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