Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jennifer Mathes


Some students are entering college and graduating with the inability to write scholarly and professionally. The purpose of this instrumental case study was to examine the perceptions of college instructors and students about the essential writing skills of entering first-year college students within a Southwestern university. This study provided insight into strategies to engage students in the writing process, both before and after entering college. Vygotsky's social constructivism provided the framework for this study. The research questions included an examination of the perceptions of students' writing skills based on what instructors, students, and writing center personnel observed; what instructors and students believed to be essential writing skills necessary for entering first-year college students to be academically successful; and what the writing center personnel and students' perceptions were regarding writing resources that were deemed beneficial to entering first-year college students to help improve their writing skills. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 12 participants: 4 instructors, 5 students, and 3 writing center personnel. Data analysis included theme identification based on key words from the interviews. According to study results, findings revealed factors that contributed to poor writing, common writing errors, required writing skills to be academically successful, and writing resources. These findings led to the development of a 3-day professional development (PD) workshop. Participation in the PD workshop may lead to modifications in the curriculum at local high schools and entry-level courses taught to entering first-year college students, resulting in positive social change.

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