Community College Writing Program Administrators: Implementing Change Through Advocacy

Lizbett Tinoco, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation, Community College WPAs: Implementing Change Through Advocacy, examines the work and role of Writing Program Administrators (WPAs) at community colleges. Defining the role and the work of WPAs is very complex, and even more so at community colleges since these institutions are very diverse places in regards to programmatic structure and student population. The scholarship of writing program administration has typically excluded community colleges; as a result, my research focuses on including these narratives. Unlike a lot of WPA narratives that often describe WPAs as "composition wives" (Schuster, 1991; Hesse, 1999) who do much of the dirty work and have no real authority, I present community college WPAs as rhetorically savvy agents that create change. Using qualitative grounded theory, I conducted analysis of surveys from 53 community college WPAs across the country and nine one-on-one interviews. I present research-driven narratives of community college WPAs who use many rhetorical tools available to them to enact various forms of advocacy in the workplace. While most WPAs in this study encountered institutional and external challenges which could have defeated them and prevented them from doing their work, they continued to find strategic ways to voraciously advocate for the importance of WPA work. With the changing dynamics in higher education and with more students entering community colleges, I expand upon WPA scholarship to include the experiences that community college WPAs bring to our professional scholarship.

Subject Area

Community college education|Language arts|Rhetoric

Recommended Citation

Tinoco, Lizbett, "Community College Writing Program Administrators: Implementing Change Through Advocacy" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10813890.