Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Justin Rademaekers, PhD

Committee Member

Margaret Ervin, PhD

Committee Member

William Lalicker, PhD


This thesis project advocates for a more inclusive approach to writing instruction, challenging traditional pedagogical practices that have historically excluded marginalized groups from fully participating in academic discourse. This project highlights the ways that Aristotelian interpretations of ethos continue to inform and shape contemporary writing pedagogy, despite their potential outdatedness in the context of the 21st-century composition classroom. By examining the Conference of College Composition and Communication's policy resolution entitled Students' Right to Their Own Language, this project recognizes the presence of linguistically diverse writers and their historical, ongoing struggle for academic legitimacy. Furthermore, this project proposes rhetorical listening as one strategy for composition pedagogy that places value on personal perspectives and diverse voices in student writing. Rhetorical listening, as an approach, aids in shaping and maintaining scholarly credibility for linguistically diverse writers. Finally, this research project suggests practical assignment designs for composition instruction that fosters community-based, empathetic, and collaborative practices that promote a more comprehensive approach to writing instruction.