Rhetorical motives of identity, consubstantiality, and hierarchy: An analysis of community college program documents
Pettit, Angela G. Parkis
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The dissertation focuses on three academic programs at Tarrant County College, Northeast Campus, specifically the documents used to create and sustain these programs. The purpose of this study includes the following: first, to identify the terminology specific to each program and/or the documents used within the program; second and third to determine how the terminology creates identity and community for the Community College student and for the college; finally, to determine the rhetorical aspects of kairos, ethos, logos , and pathos of the documents as they apply to the communication between the community college and the students they address. The methodology employed for this research was based on Kenneth Burke's theory of motives in which a careful understanding of word selection, document design and purpose, and target audience is key in analyzing motive and function of the documents in question. Primary archival documents for the Cornerstone Program were used as well as handouts, brochures, and the TCC mission statement to conduct a rhetorical analysis of content and design in order to understand the identity and hierarchy established between the college and the student population. The conclusions of this dissertation suggest that the discourse between administrative documents and public documents is not always clear. Purpose and audience must occasionally be inferred. Further studies should be done quantitatively to determine the effectiveness of the documents for student success. Data is being collected for the Cornerstone and ACCESS programs at TCC and other programs like them at other colleges regarding student success. Data, however, is linked to student success and numbers of attrition and retention but not on how the program literature is influential in the outcomes. Further research needs to be conducted in this area to understand the impact on student success of the discourse between the community groups. At the time of this study, the ACCESS program is just beginning and documents are being generated as the program progresses. Likewise, as the Cornerstone program continues to evolve to address student needs, more artifacts are being generated. Therefore, a final suggestion is to monitor these artifacts in relationship to the original intent of the programs as they pertain to the changing needs and demographics of the student populations they target to ensure that the dialogue reflects the needs and goals of both administration and students alike. Surveys, interviews, and program data collection will be necessary to adequately determine the effectiveness of the TCC programs studied.