Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Teresa Dillard


International University of Grand-Bassam (IUGB) first opened its doors in Cote d'Ivoire, in a sociocultural context where a significant number of freshmen students were French speakers. Because the instructional language was English, students were faced with a language barrier that triggered more issues including difficulties in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The purpose of this study was to uncover French speaking students' challenges in academic literacy at IUGB and to suggest some solutions that would benefit students and instructors. The research questions focused on faculty members' perceptions of French speaking students' challenges in academic literacy, and their suggestions for improving student proficiency in English at IUGB. Vygotsky's sociocultural theory of learning, as well as Cummins's theory of language acquisition framed the conceptual foundation of this study. A qualitative case study research design was used with data gathered from 8 classroom observations, 8 individual interviews, and 1 focus group discussion. Participants were instructors selected from all 3 schools of the university. Data analysis included open coding and data triangulation. Major findings included students' lack of proficiency in English that negatively affected the beginning of their tertiary education. As a response, faculty members used a variety of instructional strategies to support their students. They also called for administrative authorities to help create an environment more conducive to student proficiency. A project was developed suggesting ways to overcome French speaking students' challenges in academic literacy at IUGB. Implementation of these suggested changes could result in significant improvements in student learning at IUGB and benefit both students and faculty.