“One aspect of the potential of two-year colleges that has been largely untapped…is our knowledge of WPA work at community colleges” —Tim Taylor
My research is committed to diversity by including voices which are often left in the margins of academic scholarship. Specifically, I seek to challenge dominant notions through the support, training, and incorporation of marginalized voices in Writing Program Administration, Writing Center scholarship, and Composition studies at both research universities and community colleges.
In my dissertation, Community College WPAs: Implementing Change Through Advocacy, I examine the work and role of Writing Program Administrators (also often referred to as Writing Program Coordinators, Writing Directors, Department Chairs) at community colleges. Defining the role and the work of writing program administrators (WPAs) is very complex, and even more so at community colleges since these institutions are very diverse places in regards to programmatic structure and student population. The scholarship of writing program administration has typically excluded community colleges; as a result, my research focuses on including these narratives.Unlike a lot of WPA narratives that often describe WPAs as “composition wives” (Schuster, 1991; Hesse, 1999) who do much of the dirty work and have no real authority, I present community college WPAs as rhetorically savvy agents that create change. Using qualitative grounded theory research consisting of surveys and on-on-one interviews, I present research-driven narratives of community college WPAs who use many rhetorical tools available to them to enact various forms of advocacy in the workplace. While most WPAs in this study encountered institutional and external challenges which could have defeated them and prevented them from doing their work, they continued to find strategic ways to voraciously advocate for the importance of WPA work. With the changing dynamics in higher education and with more students entering community colleges, I expand upon WPA scholarship to include the experiences community colleges bring our professional scholarship.