Texas Tech University

Kamau Oginga Siwatu, Ph.D.

Professor, Interim Dean
Educational Psychology, Leadership, & Counseling

Email: Kamau.siwatu@ttu.edu

Phone: 806-834-5850

Office: Education 103A

Kamau Siwatu is a professor of Educational Psychology and the interim Dean in the College of Education. During his tenure at the university, Dr. Siwatu has taught a range of courses including Educational Psychology, Cognition and Instruction, and the Foundations of Mixed Methods Research. Siwatu's former students comment about his dedication to providing innovative instructional approaches, linking theory to practice, and ensuring that his students receive a challenging yet rewarding educational experience.

Siwatu gained a national reputation stemming from publications associated with his primary research agenda, which is related to culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy. He has published in high-impact journals such as Urban Education, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Journal of Educational Research.

In the summer of 2020, Siwatu accepted the role of chair of the Educational Psychology, Leadership, and Counseling Department - the largest graduate department in the College of Education, in terms of programs offered, students served, and the number of faculty. Siwatu ensured compliance with institutional policies, managed departmental budgets, and resolved conflicts while maintaining a focus on academic excellence and faculty development. His accomplishments include implementing streamlined faculty review processes, fostering a culture of collaboration, and achieving a 100% success rate in promotion and tenure reviews.

In January 2024, Siwatu was appointed interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Siwatu's transition from being the department chair to the interim Associate Dean signifies a significant shift in his responsibilities and leadership role within the college. This role demands strong leadership, strategic planning, and collaboration with various stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, and administrators. Now, as the interim Associate Dean, Siwatu's focus has broadened to encompass the entire college. He is driving initiatives to develop a college-wide strategic enrollment management plan designed to optimize the recruitment and admissions process, enhance student experiences, and ensure equitable access to quality education.

On June 1, 2024, Siwatu will begin his appointment as the interim dean of the College of Education. During this interim appointment, he will be expected to fulfill the responsibilities of the Dean's position, including providing leadership in teaching, research, and service; representing the college in the university community, alumni relations, fundraising, and in state, federal, and private sector academic and emerging research issues; advocating for the college and fostering relationships with other units on campus, the community, and affiliated industries; managing enrollment, recruitment, and retention of students; and overseeing the college's human, financial, and physical resources.

Siwatu earned his bachelor's degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills, his master's degree from Florida State University, and a doctorate from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Kamau Siwatu


  • Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Psychology (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Siwatu's research is grounded in social cognitive theory. A key construct within this theory is self-efficacy.  Bandura (1997) defined self-efficacy as, “beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” (p. 3).  Stated differently, self-efficacy is a person's judgment of his or her capabilities to perform a particular activity or task successfully.  He has researched self-efficacy in the context of: (1) teaching in K-12 educational settings, (2) teaching in post-secondary settings, and (3) conducting research. Dr. Siwatu is interested in studying self-efficacy in these various contexts for a couple of reasons. First, research suggests that individuals will engage in activities in which they are more confident in completing successfully and avoid those in which they are not. Second, self-efficacy can influence an individual's career decision-making. For example, researchers suggest that individuals' self-efficacy beliefs to successfully engage in tasks specific to the profession (e.g., teaching) may influence their decisions to pursue a career in a particular field and their decision to remain in the profession (Brown & Lent, 2006; Lent et al., 1994).

Dr. Siwatu has gained a national reputation stemming from publications associated with his primary research agenda which is focused on issues related to teaching, learning, and inclusiveness in K-12 educational settings. Within this general area of interest, he has four distinct, yet interrelated, strands: (1) preservice teachers' culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy beliefs and the factors that influence the formation of self-efficacy beliefs, (2) the context specificity of preservice teachers' culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy beliefs, (3) the practice of culturally responsive teaching and its noted positive student and teaching outcomes, and (4) preparing prospective teachers to become culturally responsive and the role of educational psychology in preparing culturally responsive teachers.

Selected Publications

Siwatu, K. O., Putnam, M., Starker, T. V., & Lewis, C. (2015). The development of the culturally responsive classroom management self-efficacy scale: Development and initial validation. Urban Education. Prepublished September 9, 2015.

Kelley, H. M., Siwatu, K. O., Tost, J. R., & Martinez, J. A. (2015). The effects of culturally familiar reading tasks on culturally and linguistically diverse students' reading performance and self-efficacy. Educational Psychology in Practice.

Siwatu, K. O., & Chesnut, S. R. (2014). The career development of preservice and inservice teachers: Why teachers' self-efficacy beliefs matter. In H. Fives & M. Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers' beliefs (pp. 212-229). New York: Routledge.

Siwatu, K. O., & Starker, T. V. (2014). Preparing culturally responsive teachers.  In G. S. Goodman (Ed.) Educational psychology reader: The art and science of how people learn. Revised edition (pp.192-202). New York: Peter Lang.

Siwatu, K. O. (2011). Preservice teachers' culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy forming experiences: A mixed methods study. Journal of Educational Research, 104, 360-369.

Siwatu, K. O., Frazier, P., Osaghae, O., & Starker, T. V. (2011). From maybe I can to yes I can. Developing preservice and inservice teachers' self-efficacy to teach African American students. Journal of Negro Education, 80(3), 209-222.

Siwatu, K. O. (2009). Designing self-efficacy building interventions in the preparation of culturally responsive teachers. In R. Milner (Ed.), Diversity and education: Teachers, teaching, and teacher education (pp. 119-131). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishers.

Siwatu, K. O. (2007). Preservice teachers' culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy and outcome expectancy beliefs. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 1086-1101.