Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Seth Kahn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Lalicker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kuhio Walters, Ph.D.


Students enrolled in first-year composition (FYC) courses, particularly those who take them at open enrollment institutions such as community colleges, are far too frequently underprepared to complete college-level coursework, particularly research-based assignments. Such students lack not only the academic, information, media, and civic literacy skills, but also the fundamental or baseline literacy skills to work at the college level. Some of these students are placed in transitional courses (also known as remedial or developmental courses), but others manage to place in for-credit courses. As a result, students experience difficulty identifying, locating, reading, comprehending, and integrating primary and other sophisticated sources such as academic journal articles, academic books, and even their textbooks. Through a survey of students, faculty, and librarians, coupled with interviews and students’ research log entries, I have been able to identify some of the issues and I propose both short-term and long-term strategies to address these students’ challenges.