Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Margaret Ervin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Scott Warnock, Ph.D.


Collier (1995), Cummins (1981), and Mitchell, Destino and Karam (1997) claimed that it could take ten years for multilingual (ML) students to become proficient in academic English. In 2001, the Conference on College Composition and Communication [CCCC] Statement on Second-Language Writing and Writers asserted the same. Yet, faculty might judge the writing of ML students as deficient because they write with an “accent” (Bruce and Rafoth, 2016; Leki, 1992; Matsuda and Cox, 2011; Severino and Deifell, 2011). Consequently, ML students often seek assistance from peer tutors at the university writing center. In this dissertation, I perform a qualitative study to explore how peer tutors and ML students negotiate difference at a university writing center set in a predominantly White institution. I provide background regarding the historical approaches to tutoring. Using sociocultural theory and the Interaction Hypothesis, I understand the data of 15 hours of writing center interactions, three hours of focus group interviews, and numerous written artifacts from the ML tuteees. I also find a critical discourse analysis reveals inequalities in power and authority between the peer tutors and the ML students. In the end, I suggest paths for future research.