Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Lynn Beck

First Committee Member

Eileen McFall

Second Committee Member

Delores McNair


This dissertation is comprised of three separate articles addressing related issues central to the culture and future of higher education. The questions that animate the investigations are: In what ways is writing self-efficacy forged in the learning relationships between student and instructor? In what ways, if any, do traditional assessment practices impact student development? In what ways, if any, does institutional culture shape faculty identity, and what is gained or lost in the process? These queries stem from concerns about possible disconnects between visions of higher education's potential and actual practices in the classroom. The dissertation uses grounded theory to explore the deep nature of student learning needs as articulated by the students themselves, seeks alignment between pedagogical and assessment protocols that foster writing expertise, and uses social reproduction theory and intersectionality to reveal the foundations of faculty identity development that can work across student development needs. Specific recommendations for meaningful reform are identified with an eye on cultivating a culture of collegiality and mutual trust where learning relationships can flourish.







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