University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

Rita Kohli

Rita Kohli

Assistant Professor

Graduate School of Education
2103 Sproul Hall

Research Areas

An interdisciplinary scholar of teaching and teacher education, Kohli applies frameworks from teacher preparation, educational foundations, and critical race studies to examine the role of racism in K-12 educational inequity. Her research has two main lines of inquiry: 1) a structural analysis of educational systems and practices that exacerbate or maintain racial inequity, and 2) an examination of educational practices that effectively advance racial justice, with particular focus on teachers of Color.   

Current Curriculum Vitae


  • B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, Psychology
  • M.A., New York University, Sociology of Education
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Education


Rita Kohli is an Assistant Professor in the Education, Society and Culture Program in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside . She has a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on Race and Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles  and served as an Inclusive Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at Santa Clara University . As a former Oakland Unified School District teacher, a teacher educator, and an educational researcher, Kohli has spent close to 20 years in urban public schools across the country.  Co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice ( ITOC ), Kohli was the recipient of UCR’s Innovator for Social Change Award (2016) and CESJ’s Scholar Activist and Community Advocacy Award (2017).  She currently serves on the editorial board of the international journal Race, Ethnicity and Educationand has published in journals such as  the  Review of Research in Education,  Urban Education,and Equity and Excellence in Education.  She is also co-editor of the book, Confronting Racism in Teacher Education: Narratives from Teacher Educators which explores the first person accounts of teacher educators struggling to navigate and challenge racism within teacher preparation.

PBS News Hour with Hari Sreenivasan:

Online Article, "Where You Work Matters"

NPR interview for Michael Krasney's show, "How Do You Say That? The Trouble With Pronouncing Names":

Blog Post for the Equity Alliance from ASU:



  • Picower, B. &  Kohli, R.  (Eds.) (2017).  Confronting Racism in Teacher Education: Counternarratives of Critical Practice.  Routledge.

Journal Special Issue

  • Jackson, T. & Kohli, R. (Eds.) (2016). In the special issue: Critical issues in the preparation, support and retention of teachers of color, Equity and Excellence in Education. 49(1): 1-8.

Refereed Journal Articles

  • Kohli, R. (In press, 2018). Lessons for teacher education: The role of critical professional development in teacher of Color retention.  Journal of Teacher Education. 
  • Valdez, C., Currameng, E., Pour-Khorshid, F., Kohli, R., Shalaby, C., Nikundiwe, T., Picower, B., Stovall, D. (In press, 2018). We Are Victorious: Educator Activism as a Shared Struggle for Human Being. The Educational Forum. 
  • Burciaga, R. & Kohli, R. (2018). The community cultural wealth of racial justice oriented teachers of color. Multicultural Perspectives. 20(1): 5-12.

  • Kohli, R., Pizarro, M., Nevarez, A. (2017). The ‘new’ racism of k-12 schools: Centering critical research on racism. Review of Research in Education, 2017 volume.

  • Jackson, T. & Kohli, R. (2016). Guest editors introduction: The state of teachers of color. In the special issue: Critical issues in the preparation, support and retention of teachers of color, Equity and Excellence in Education. 49(1): 1-8.

  • Kohli, R. (2016). Behind school doors: The racialization of teachers of color in urban public schools.Urban Education. Online ahead of print.  1-27.

  • Kohli, R. & Pizarro, M. (2016). Fighting to educate our own: Teachers of color, relational accountability and the struggle for racial justice. Equity and Excellence in Education. 49(1): 72-84.

  • Kohli, R., Picower, B., Martinez, A. & Ortiz, N.* (2015).  Critical professional development: Centering the social justice needs of teachers.  International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. 6(2).

  • Tintiangco-Cubales, A., Kohli, R., Sacramento, J.*, Henning, N., Agarwal-Ragnath, R., & Sleeter, C. (2015). Toward an ethnic studies pedagogy: Implications for K-12 schools from the research. The Urban Review 47(1): 104-125.

  • Kohli, R. (2014). Unpacking internalized racism: teachers of color striving for racially just classrooms. Race Ethnicity and Education17(3), 367-387.  *Named one of the most significant empirical contributions from June 2013-May 2014 by NCTE’s Research in the Teaching of English (RTE).

  • Kohli, R. (2012). Racial pedagogy of the oppressed: Critical interracial dialogue for teachers of color.Equity and Excellence in Education. 45(1), 181-196.

  • Kohli, R., & Solorzano, D. G. (2012). Teachers, please learn our names!: racial microagressions and the K-12 classroom. Race Ethnicity and Education, 15(4), 441-462.

  • Kohli, R. (2009). Critical race reflections: Valuing the experiences of teachers of color in teacher education. Race Ethnicity and Education12(2), 235-251.

  • Kohli, R. (2008). Breaking the cycle of racism in the classroom: Critical race reflections from future teachers of color.  Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(4), 177-188.

  • Perez Huber, L., Johnson, R. N., & Kohli, R. (2006). Naming racism: A conceptual look at internalized racism in US schools. Chicano-Latino L. Rev.26, 183.

Book Chapters

  • Kohli, R., Reyes McGovern, E. & Arteaga, N. (In press, 2018). Compliments and Jokes: Unpacking racial microagressions of K-12 schooling. In Microagression Theory- Influence and Implications. Eds. Capodilupo, C., Nadal, K., Rivera, D., Sue, D.W., Torino, G. John Wiley & Sons.

  • Pham, J. & Kohli, R. (2018). Cultivating Teachers as Change Agents: A Model of Critical Race Professional Development. In Portraits of Anti-Racist Alternative Teacher Preparation in the U.S.: Framing Teacher Development for Community, Justice and Visionaries. Ed. Gist, C. Peter Lang Publishers. 

  • Kohli, R. (2016). Beyond the demographics: Supporting the retention, growth and success of critical teachers of color. In Diversifying the Teaching Force in Transnational Contexts: Critical Perspectives. Eds. Schmidt, C. & Schneider, J. Sense Publishers, 103-113.

  • Kohli, R. (2014). Racial pedagogy of the oppressed: Critical interracial dialogue for teachers of color. Reprint from Education, Equity and Excellence in: Intergroup Dialogue: Engaging Difference, Social Identities and Social Justice. Eds. Zuniga, X., Lopez, G., & Ford, K. New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Kohli, R. (2012). Breaking the cycle of racism in the classroom: Critical race reflections from future teachers of color. Reprinted from Teacher Education Quarterly in: The Evolving Significance of Race: Living, Learning and Teaching. Eds. Berry, T. & Hughes, S.; Creskill, NJ: Hampton Press (invited chapter).  *Book received 2014 Critics Choice Award by the American Educational Studies Association.

  • Kohli, R.  & Solórzano, D. (2011). Racial conflict in communities of color and high school student activism.  In  Marching Students: Chicana/o Identity and the Politics of Education 1968 and the Present.  Eds. Urrieta, L. & Revilla, A. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press (invited chapter).

Research Brief

  • Kohli, R. (2017). Internalized Racism: The Consequences and Impact of Racism on People of Color. CCRS Research Brief, no. 6. Los Angeles, CA: Center for Critical Race Studies at UCLA.

Electronic Publications and Magazines

  • Kohli, R. (2015). Where we work matters: School racial climate influences retention for teachers of color. Diversity Recruitment Partners in Education Magazine.
  • Kohli, R. (2013). Making the Invisible Visible: Addressing the Needs of Teachers of Color. University of Arizona Equity Alliance, Leadcast Blog.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Graduate School of Education
1207 Sproul Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5234
Fax: (951) 827-3942


Last Modified: 2/15/18