Date of Degree

2-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Jessica Yood

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Methods | Higher Education Administration | Higher Education and Teaching | Rhetoric

Keywords

civic engagement, ethnographic study, institutional mission, rhetorical education, undergraduate tutors, writing centers

Abstract

This ethnographic dissertation looks at how the mission statement at one institution of higher education--Yeshiva University (YU)--establishes rhetorical education for its undergraduate students. The research site for this study of rhetorical education and institutional mission is the college writing center at YU's women's campus, Stern College for Women. This study defines rhetorical education as the way an institution authorizes written, spoken, and behavioral communication, with the goal of developing its students as civic beings, through its institutional mission. My findings demonstrate how undergraduate writing tutors disidentify with institutional rhetorical education to subvert, resist, and revise institutional rhetorical education, offering alternatives for their undergraduate peers. As an ethnographic study of undergraduate writing tutors, this dissertation looks at the work of young teachers outside of traditional classrooms for the rhetorical education they model for their students. The results of my ethnographic study reveal how undergraduate writing tutors disidentify with institutional rhetorical education predominantly through their civic engagement, but also within the writing center. A further finding of this study demonstrates that undergraduate writing center tutors at YU embody and perform multiculturalism, despite the institutional mission, which does not specify a commitment to multiculturalism.

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