Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

Committee Director

Thomas Bean

Committee Member

Tony Perez

Committee Member

Jamie Colwell


Many students enter college with inadequate reading, writing, and critical thinking skills to successfully navigate discipline-specific college-level coursework (Duff, 2010; Hyland, 2006; Lea & Street, 1998; Tsui, 2002). As such, college faculty, and specifically community college faculty, are challenged to meet the multiple literacy needs of their students while still maintaining high expectations within their discipline-specific courses. One option is for discipline faculty (e.g., history) to integrate disciplinary literacy instruction within their courses. As discipline faculty are deemed experts in their content area and often not trained in literacy, professional development focused on disciplinary literacy could provide the knowledge and experience for faculty to make this pedagogical shift.

This multi-case study investigated the impact participating in a disciplinary literacy learning community had on community college discipline faculty’s perceptions, self-efficacy, and practice regarding incorporating disciplinary literacy instruction within their courses. Ten faculty from a large, multi-campus mid-Atlantic community college participated in three discipline-specific learning communities, where they learned about Moje’s (2015) 4E framework for teaching disciplinary literacy, collaborated with their peers, enhanced an assignment to address disciplinary literacy, and reflected on their experiences. The following data were collected for this study: learning community curriculum and documents, initial and final semi-structured focus group interviews, faculty journal entries, enhanced course activities, and researcher observations and reflexive journal. Data were analyzed using open and axial coding and constant comparative analysis (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) to identify within-case patterns and replicative relationships across the cases (Yin, 2018). The findings revealed similarities and differences across the learning communities, and they provide insight for community college discipline faculty, literacy personnel, and administration.