Kenneth J. Varner

Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Initiatives, College of Education
Director, Gayle A. Zeiter Center for Literacy
Expertise: Teacher preparation and pathways, Language, literacy, and culture, White racial identity, School-to-prison pipeline, Culturally responsive pedagogy, Global education and engagement


Kenneth Varner’s research centers around the intersections of global education and engagement, with an emphasis on the language and literacy practices of individuals and communities. He is additionally an expert in teacher preparation and preparation pathway approaches in Nevada, the United States, and abroad.

A frequent media source, Varner's work has examined topics such as white racial identity, the school-to-prison pipeline, culturally responsive practice, and the role of international education.

Varner is the author of over 90 publications including articles in Teacher’s College Record, Educational Foundations, Democracy in Education, and Social Identities: Journal for the Studies of Race, Nation, and Culture.


  • Ph.D., Education and Critical Race Theory, The Ohio State University
  • M.S., Literacy, St. John Fisher College
  • B.A., Education, Niagara University

Kenneth J. Varner In The News

K.T.N.V. T.V. ABC 13
With ongoing contract disputes between Clark County School District and Clark County Education Association, many question what the future of teachers will look like.
K.S.N.V. T.V. News 3
The effort to fill teaching positions in our schools continues. Educator shortages are leading to teacher burnout, and students are also feeling the impact. A UNLV program is meant to get teachers into our classrooms at a time when they're needed the most.
It's not always simple, but here are questions to ask to make sure your kid's Halloween costume doesn't cross the line.
Every Halloween, the phrase "cultural appropriation" comes up in conversation — so, what is that? How do we explain it to children? And how can families make sure their Halloween costumes aren't distasteful?

Articles Featuring Kenneth J. Varner

Scarlet and Gray, “REB's Glitter Squad”, Lester Cruz and Isabel Ferguson, take pictures and hype up students and families during the October 2022 homecoming football game.
Campus News | November 8, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV students and faculty who made headlines locally, regionally, and internationally.

Dancers with the U.N.L.V. Ewalu Club
Campus News | October 4, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting research wins, expert insights, and academic achievement.

a teacher and student in a classroom
Campus News | March 7, 2022

A collection of news stories highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.