Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Re-mediating academic support: An ethnographic reading of a postsecondary learning center
by Miller, Marcus Ryan, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 226; 10158577
Abstract (Summary)

While overt and systematic forms of remediation proliferate at community colleges through developmental education courses, remediation also works across the system of U.S. higher education to satisfy divergent goals of universal access and highly guarded academic prestige. Recognizing that remediation often targets students whose “at-riskness” has been implicitly tied to their racial identities, socioeconomic status, language backgrounds, parental education levels, and/or status as international students, this practitioner research study attempted to better understand how remediation operates within and through a university-based learning center at a highly competitive institution and to enact, with students and colleagues, learning support practices that resist and potentially disrupt institutional legacies and mechanisms of remediation. Through student and practitioner inquiry groups, this study explored alternatives to the individualized and therapeutic instructional model reflected in the spatial organization of the learning center, creating opportunities for participants to collectively construct and articulate their epistemological perspectives, learning goals, cultural and linguistic resources, and complex identities. By framing the learning center and its broader institutional context as activity systems, this study exploited historically accumulating contradictions between these systems in order to trouble and potentially ‘re-mediate’ both academic support practices and the structures that operate to restrict and define them. Central to this study are questions of how students and practitioners can build upon more expansive notions of knowledge and learning to promote individual growth and constructively disrupt limiting institutional and disciplinary norms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stornaiuolo, Amy
Commitee: Cohen, Myrna L., Harper, Shaun R., Lytle, Susan L.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Reading, Writing, Literacy
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Higher education, Recreation
Keywords: Academic literacy, International students, Learning centers, Learning support, Practitioner inquiry, Remediation
Publication Number: 10158577
ISBN: 9781369135855
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