Educational Administration, Department of


First Advisor

Deryl Hatch-Tocaimaza

Date of this Version



Hernandez, D. M. (2020). Structural, organizational, cultural processes and mechanisms: A case study of writing center marginalization and untapped potential [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Deryl K. Hatch-Tocaimaza. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2020

Copyright 2020 Diana M. Hernandez


Universities around the country have writing centers on their campuses since writing is an important component of student success. Research has shown that many writing center professionals feel marginalized by faculty and staff. The study was designed to explore how and why writing centers become marginalized on college campuses. Many studies on writing centers focus on pedagogical aspects of writing center work as well as student and faculty views and expectations. This study explores organizational, cultural, and political structures that may help and hinder a writing center in reaching its potential in assisting in broader educational goals such as retention and student success initiatives. Faculty and administrative staff were interviewed along with a survey given to students at a Mid-Atlantic institution. Physical artifacts and documents were also analyzed to explore the invisible aspects of institutional culture and practices.

The study indicated that formal and informal organizational structures such as autonomy, a difference of values, faculty support, competing resources, and institutional culture lend themselves to writing center marginalization. Writing program administrators and administrators of other services who are viewed as academic support rather than university support can use and overcome these same structures to establish and reach broader student success goals.

Adviser: Deryl K. Hatch-Tocaimaza