Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Bennett A. Rafoth, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Susan E. Welsh, Ph.D.


This study explores the academic lives of three multilingual undergraduate student writers in order to better understand how they have constructed their academic literacies and academic identities since taking the required English courses at a mid-sized state university. Within the overarching discussions of academic discourse and the idea of western academic discourse (e.g., Bizzell, 1992; Canagarajah, 2002; Flowerdew, 2002; Hyland, 2000), the academic literacies model (e.g., Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Blanton, 2005; Lea & Street, 2006; Seloni, 2012), genre theory and pedagogy (e.g., Cheng, 2007, 2008, 2011; Dean, 2008; Hyland, 2004; Johns, 2009), and academic identities as constructed through academic socialization and "doing school" (e.g., Pope, 2001; Valenzuela 1999), the following research questions are addressed: How do students from diverse backgrounds develop their academic literacies and academic socialization in the undergraduate context? * How does a student situate him/herself within the academic community? * How does genre theory/pedagogy play out in a student's development of academic literacies or academic socialization? * How is academic identity constructed within writing, and how can it contribute to academic literacy development? This study employs case study methodology (Yin, 2009) because doing an in-depth focus on each individual participant provided multiple sources of data, which in turn allow for an accurate understanding and depiction of the participants experiences and negotiations with academic literacy, socialization, and identity development. Data was collected in various ways: semi-structured interviews, monthly blogs, literacy autobiographies, and documents produced during the data collection period for classes in which the participants were enrolled. Following data analysis, four themes emerge: (1) challenging the undergraduate liberal arts curricula; (2) privileging English courses in the liberal arts curricula; (3) constructing good student versus "doing school" identities; and (4) perceiving written work as writing or non-writing. Understanding the experiences of the participants in relation to the themes leads to pedagogical, curricular, and professional development implications to allow teachers and administrators to assist students in the development of their academic literacies, academic socialization, and academic identities.