Perspectives on literacy in a community college: Interviews with students and faculty in English and college-prep departments

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

First Committee Member

Eugene F. Jr. Provenzo - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of faculty and students toward literacy in a community college and to determine what an understanding of these views suggests concerning ways to improve the teaching and learning of college-level reading and writing. Through an analysis of interview data, inferences were made concerning the meaning that literacy has for faculty and students. Based on these inferences, suggestions are offered concerning ways to enhance the quality of literacy education at the community college.Through an analysis of the interview data, it was concluded that there are both similarities and differences in the views expressed by the students and faculty. One similarity is that both groups value practical and personal aspects of literacy. Also, both groups use metaphors that suggest a view of literacy as a hierarchy of increasing complexity, and both see the influence of electronic media on literacy to he either negative or peripheral. On the other hand, the main difference is that the students interviewed tended to emphasize matters of correctness and organizational clarity, while faculty tended to emphasize critical, social, and cultural aspects of literacy. Comments made by both students and faculty suggest that the overriding influence of the CLAST exam imposes a specific sense of purpose on all of those involved in the teaching and learning of reading and composition. It was concluded that this not only influences what is taught in the English classes by forcing a focus on the mechanical and organizational skills tested on the CLAST-like departmental exams, but also limits the teaching of social, cultural, rhetorical, and literary aspects of reading and composition that the faculty value as well.


Education, Community College; Education, Sociology of; Education, Higher

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