Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Mark McBeth

Committee Members

Sondra Perl

Jessica Yood

Carmen Kynard

Subject Categories

Rhetoric and Composition


writing centers, assemblage theory, programmatic assessment, social justice, composition and rhetoric, writing center history


This dissertation will broaden the purview of recent scholarship pertaining to socially just writing assessments by making connections among assemblage theory and materialism, studies of ecological and anti-racist assessments, and studies of writing center work, to ground theoretical conversations in everyday practices. Focusing on systemic oppression in the neoliberal university and consciously using assemblage theory as a mechanism for confronting multiliteracies allows writing center directors to see the constant movement and reshaping of students’ knowledges as they approach different environments, different courses, and different genres. Notions of intra-relatedness and intertwinings evident in assemblage theory are essential to this dissertation’s consideration of pedagogy and administration. Expanding upon research on ecological and anti-racist assessment practices, I argue that it is vitally important for writing program administrators and writing center directors to bring complex views of literacies and identities to their assessment protocols. I further argue that this practice can be aided by frameworks based in assemblage theory. Using archival research and critical discourse analysis, this project explores one WC’s history and current practices in a large public, urban university system as a case study. Acknowledging the burden of negotiating hurdles set up by corporatized university structures, this dissertation examines the ways institutional pressures can shape assessments, and makes suggestions for new, socially just approaches relying on assemblage theory that follow current trends in writing assessment.