Date of Award

Summer 2022

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Christina Ortmeier-Hooper

Second Advisor

Cristy Beemer

Third Advisor

Alecia Magnifico


In 2022, COVID-19 has disrupted the academic experience of students, including students access to writing support. The importance of the support universities offer and that students are able to access has greatly increased as offerings and circumstances shift and change. Students seeking support may turn to university-sponsored services but if those do not fit student needs, students may rely on informal supports, including friends and family. While investigating the gaps in university-sponsored writing support first-year students experience, I explore how first-year students understand what writing support is, how available/accessible it is to them, and why students return to a form of support. This IRB-approved two-part study consists of a survey and student interviews. By gathering data on institutional gaps and student-generated alternatives, I demonstrate the need for more critical qualitative evaluation of supports and argue for the incorporation of student narratives into formal annual reports. I conclude with recommendations for writing center directors, first-year writing instructors, and university administrators to better support student writing practices.

Available for download on Friday, April 12, 2024