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Graduate Certificate in Culturally Responsive Teaching

When students’ cultures and prior experiences are integrated with classroom instruction, new information becomes relevant and meaningful. 

The Culturally Responsive Teaching program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota provides educators with foundational theory and research, as well as proven, practical strategies to enhance instruction for all learners. Intentional work on awareness, sensitivity, and professional disposition are embedded throughout the program. Curriculum is delivered in a blended model, combining the benefits of face-to-face instruction with the flexibility of online learning.

Continue With the M.A. in Education

Those wishing to complete the M.A. in Education degree may do so with an additional 18 credits. Courses for degree completion address topics such as educational theory and research, assessment, ethics, and child development. The culminating activity is an action research project where you will implement practical educational strategies that ensure the success of all learners.


Upon completion of the program, graduates are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Evaluate beliefs that shape, inform, and guide their perspectives and practices
  • Understand and value students’ cultural and educational experiences to inform teaching and learning
  • Integrate the principles of culturally responsive teaching to create an inclusive, safe learning environment
  • Embed the principles of culturally responsive teaching into instructional and assessment plans
  • Identify and evaluate rich, relevant resources to support student learning

Hear from current students and instructors about the value of the Culturally Responsive Teaching Certificate from Saint Mary's.

Gainful Employment

Effective July 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education requires institutions with nondegree programs defined as “Gainful Employment programs” to disclose certain information about these programs. Read the report.

From Start to Finish

  • You can earn your Graduate Certificate in Culturally Responsive Teaching in two and a half semesters.
  • A cohort model allows for a small team of students to collaborate in convenient locations across the Twin Cities metro area. Additional online instruction and activities supplement these face-to-face interactions. Cohorts begin throughout the year. 

Apply Now

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits.(An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
    • brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
    • statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program; and
    • description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities; and
    • personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Two letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55404


This program is offered at our Twin Cities, Apple Valley, and Oakdale locations and regional cohorts.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

The certificate is 15 credits; all courses are required. The courses are designed to build upon one another and are taken in numerical sequence.

Required Courses: 15 cr.

GCRT5205 Understanding Race and Culture (3 cr.)

Course participants explore their beliefs and educational experts' perspectives on culture and race and their impact on teaching and learning. Emphasis is also placed on the systemic nature of the role of race in educational environments.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify the varying perspectives, systemic nature, and challenges connected to race and culture, including their own.
  2. Understand the implications of culture as a fluid and dynamic social construct in relation to K-12 settings.
  3. Compare and contrast the culture of school environments to the culture of students.
  4. Research and evaluate strategies that demonstrate an understanding of culture and race.
  5. Demonstrate self-reflection in a collaborative environment where participants learn from and with one another.

GCRT5206 Principles of Culturally Responsive Classrooms and Teaching (3 cr.)

This course examines strategies to create an inclusive classroom environment that is responsive and relevant to students and their families and the ways in which all students learn. The course focuses on the linguistic, social, emotional, and academic systems in school communities for creating a community of learners.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify principles and strategies essential for creating a culturally responsive classroom.
  2. Analyze the relationship among the lived experiences of learners in school, home, and community that impact student engagement and achievement.
  3. Articulate the concepts related to a learner-centered approach to teaching and learning that incorporates cultural, linguistic, and community values.
  4. Identify individual perspectives, biases, and strengths to facilitate more effective teaching.

GCRT5208 Designing Culturally Responsive Teaching (3 cr.)

In this course, the principles of culturally responsive teaching are applied to instructional planning and assessment. Topics include determining instructional objectives, aligning principles of culturally responsive teaching to district/local standards and frameworks, and designing and/or differentiating culturally responsive assessments.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify the principles and concepts essential for rigorous and relevant instructional planning.
  2. Employ strategies to develop rigorous and relevant curriculum, assessments, and learning environments that meet the needs of racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse learners.
  3. Create integrated, standards-based instructional plans and assessments that document the principles of effective instructional design and culturally responsive teaching.

GCRT5209 Eliminating Racial Disparities in Student Achievement (3 cr.)

This course addresses the specific issues that contribute to the disparities in student achievement that exist among K-12 student groups. Concepts, professional knowledge, and research-based strategies designed to address these disparities are discussed, analyzed, and applied through a case study approach.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Use data to define what disparities in student achievement are and how norming influences misconceptions.
  2. Analyze situations to identify challenges and systemic conditions that lead to and/or contribute to the disparities in student achievement on standardized tests.
  3. Research and evaluate solutions that eliminate disparities in student achievement.
  4. Develop and modify instructional plans that integrate the essential skills, knowledge, and strategies to reduce the achievement gap.
  5. Identify individual practices, biases, and strengths that perpetuate or eliminate disparities in student achievement to facilitate more effective teaching.

GCRT5210 Comprehensive Application of Principles (3 cr.)

In this course, students complete a comprehensive performance assessment that documents and presents their individual growth, understanding, and application of the program outcomes.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Comprehensively integrate essential concepts from the program to demonstrate their cultural competence.
  2. Articulate the change in one's own perceptions and approaches since the initial program assessment.
  3. Evaluate the design and implementation of a culturally responsive instructional plan and the data on change in student achievement.
  4. Evaluate relevant research utilized to shape professional practice.

Additional Available Course

GCRT5212 Equity Leadership and Systemic Change (2 cr.)

In this course, students gain an understanding of systems change models and leadership frameworks, focus on building equity plans on a K-12 system level and learn strategies for equitable leadership in our K-12 schools.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Establish a clear personal equity leadership vision based on both theory and experience.
  2. Understand political frameworks and change models.
  3. Apply knowledge of change models and political frameworks when creating building and/or district equity action plans.
  4. Develop the skills to create ally and community networks.
  5. Acquire the skills to plan and carry out an equity audit.
  6. Create a building and/or district equity action plan.
  7. Develop and utilize leadership skills from an equity lens.

Connect With Us

Michelle Dougherty, M.A.

SGPP Admission - Assistant Director of Admission

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH114

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5122


Teresa Taylor, Ed.D.

Executive Director, Center for Culturally Responsive Engagement

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH172

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4573

Teresa Taylor Ed.D.
Louise Covert, Ph.D.

Culturally Responsive Teaching - Associate Director

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH140

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4521

Louise Covert Ph.D.
Julie Kirsch

Program Coordinator, Master of Arts in Education

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5181

Kari Anderson Suggs, M.A.

Culturally Responsive Teaching - Adjunct Instructor

Kari Anderson Suggs M.A.
Robert Crump, M.B.A.

Joan Hernandez Lindeman, M.A.

Joan Hernandez Lindeman M.A.
Maria Le

Culturally Responsive Teaching - Adjunct Instructor

Yvette Pye, Ph.D.

Ed.D. in Leadership - Core Professor

Brother Louis Hall, BLH226

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5139

Meet Yvette Pye
Diana-Christine Teodorescu, M.A.

MA Organizational Leadership Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

Brother Louis Hall, BLH211

Diana-Christine Teodorescu M.A.
Anna Young, M.Ed.

GCRT Culturally Responsive Teaching - Adjunct Instructor

Anna Young M.Ed.
De Zhang, Ph.D.

MA in ESL Program - Adjunct Associate Professor

De Zhang Ph.D.
Professor smiling with students

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