Theses Doctoral

Policy Literacy and Academic Remediation: Fields of Power in Developmental English and the Community College

Bruno, Gregory

This dissertation examines the role and influence of state, federal, and institutional policies in the experiences of developmental students and instructors enrolled in, or teaching at, community colleges. Through the theoretical framework of Pierre Bourdieu’s relational sociology and Field Theory, I organized and examined narratives and interviews from students and instructors at one community college. These narratives and interviews worked to articulate participants’ positions in related fields of power as they navigated the complexities of academic bureaucracies like financial aid, admissions, and enrollment. Particular attention was paid to the ways in which financial aid and college remediation interact. The data from both groups revealed that policy implementation has marked influence on classroom experience, even when—and perhaps because—instructors and students are unaware of the specific and particular policies themselves. The data revealed that both students and instructors make decisions based on faulty or flawed understandings of academic policies. Based on these understandings, I recommend policy literacy programs for both students and instructors and call for greater policy transparency so that students may navigate complex bureaucracies at community colleges and be better prepared to self-advocate for best practices.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Fecho, Bob
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 26, 2019