Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Jeria, Jorge

Second Advisor

Nyunt, Gudrun

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


The main purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the interactions of international students who were pursuing doctoral degrees at a public university in the Midwest (PUM) with their writing tutors. This study also explored how their writing center experiences contributed to their academic experiences. Sociocultural theory and situated learning theory served as the conceptual framework for this qualitative case study. Sociocultural theory guided understanding of the nature of the interactions, while situated learning revealed how the students’ experiences with their writing center coaches helped them join the U.S. academic community of practice through the socialization process. Semi-structured interviews, observations, and artifacts related to the Writing Center were the major sources of data. The findings of the study revealed that international doctoral students’ visits to the writing center were not limited to seeking assistance with their academic papers. At first, students had mixed experiences with the writing center – with some having positive and others negative experiences at their initial sessions. However, through their frequent visits, these students developed as scholarly writers in their respective fields. The friendly, non-judgmental, and supportive atmosphere provided by the tutors helped these students join their academic communities of practice. Thus, this study’s findings regarding the writing center’s contribution to the international graduate students’ academic experiences suggest the need for U.S. higher education institutions to enhance and improve academic support services for this population of students through writing centers.


161 pages




Northern Illinois University

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