Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1998


The objective of this study was to develop a profile of writing centers in twelve community colleges governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. This profile included how they were established, how they are funded and staffed, what services are provided and to whom, how training is provided for staff, and how technology is incorporated. More important than the profile itself, however, was an analysis of successful and unsuccessful practices, especially those related to governance, structure, and training of staff, as revealed through the perceptions and experiences of writing center directors. Because electronic technology has transformed the craft of writing, and its teaching, the analysis extended to the ways in which this technology should be integrated into writing center programs. To construct a profile of current writing center structure and practice, a survey instrument was created and administered by telephone during the spring of 1998. The survey was followed by on-site interviews with four writing center directors which focused on strategies for improving campus support for services, recruiting and training tutors, and providing services electronically. Tennessee community college writing centers vary in their primary clientele with almost half providing comprehensive services to all writers on campus and half serving primarily developmental writers. Perhaps because of this developmental orientation there continues to be a stigma attached to writing centers. Community colleges in Tennessee could enhance the stature of their writing centers by conferring faculty and full-time status on the director, offering more comprehensive services, especially tutorial services, to writers of all levels of ability and from all departments. While a substantial body of literature on writing center philosophy and practice has developed during the last twenty years, much of it failed to address the limitations inherent in community colleges pertaining to admissions policies, non-residential and part-time students, and length of time required to complete a degree. This study identified assumptions, practices, and goals which are universal as well as those which are unique among community college writing centers within the Tennessee Board of Regents system and attempted to anticipate future needs as these centers continue to evolve into the new millennium.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted