English, Department of


First Advisor

Deborah Minter

Second Advisor

Shari Stenberg

Third Advisor

Robert Brooke

Date of this Version


Document Type



Rogers, Erica E. Rhetoric as Inquiry: Personal Writing and "Academic Success" in the English Classroom. 2016. University of Nebraska, PhD dissertation.


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 Philosophy, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Deborah Minter. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Erica E. Rogers


Holistic and critical pedagogy, an approach to learning and teaching, integrates the everyday realities students live, with the systemic and institutional objectives of education itself. Working with theories from composition, rhetoric, feminist studies, and cognitive psychology from a teacher-researcher perspective, this dissertation explores and theorizes holistic, critical pedagogy within the composition classroom while outlining the use of personal writing as a means to develop critical consciousness. Student study participants kept “Inquiry Notebooks,” semester-long personal writing projects that served as receptacles for practical and theoretical engagement with a variety of texts and ideas, then interviewed after the course to discuss their learning outcomes and discoveries. Rhetorical and critical analysis of classroom artifacts, assignments, Inquiry Notebooks, and interview transcripts made students’ “epistemic assumptions” (Qualley 1997) and “identity process-styles” (Berzonsky 2004) visible, making it possible to map what they learned and decided not to learn. Inviting discussion of how epistemic assumptions and identity process-styles influence student learning outcomes, this dissertation makes the case for holistic, critical pedagogy as a means to tend to student needs as human beings coming to know about themselves, and the world around them.

Advisor: Deborah Minter