Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Williams, Bronwyn T.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Olinger, Andrea

Committee Member

Olinger, Andrea

Committee Member

Anderson, David

Committee Member

Sharma, Shayam

Author's Keywords

Transnational writing framework; writing assets; international multilingual students; graduate writers; writing center; rhetorical empathy


This research project presents an empirical exploration of how the writing assets possessed by international multilingual graduate writers impact the theory and pedagogical practices in writing studies, especially regarding the approaches to teaching writing. Extant scholarship in writing studies, especially on second language research/teaching, translingual writing practices, and asset-based writing pedagogy has engaged issues of difference in language, race, culture, as well as funds of knowledge, highlighting the impacts of these differences on the academic success of non-native English speakers in US schools and colleges. My dissertation builds on these trends and highlights the narratives, perceptions, and experiences of international multilingual graduate writers and writing consultants at the University of Louisville’s Writing Center to contribute a new, reflexive way of viewing writing differences in our work with students who are from countries other than the US. I employed a qualitative study that is informed by in-depth interviews with five international multilingual graduate writers and two focus group discussions with five writing consultants. I subjected the data I collected from my participants to analytical interpretations using the theoretical lens of the transnational writing framework as well as rhetorical empathy. The alignment of both frameworks is evident in how rhetorical empathy becomes a heuristic tool that writing instructors can use to successfully navigate the contexts of their teaching, either writing centers or writing classrooms––which I argue have increasingly become transnational in nature. Through analysis of international multilingual graduate writers’ interviews and review of their observation data, I show that they are aware of the difference between their prior writing orientation and their current writing situation in the US. Regardless, they possess some knowledge of how writing works, influenced by their linguistic, cultural, and rhetorical competencies. These competencies are leveraged as assets that they possess and would reveal to their writing consultants as long as an atmosphere that welcomes a discussion of their writing assets and tends to allow them to guide us on what we can do with these assets is cultivated. Likewise, I submit that writing professionals (instructors and consultants) need to start to reimagine every encounter of writing instruction the transnational engagement that ties people and places together across borders and adopt a rhetorical empathy stance to create opportunities for changing the Subject and the Other in terms of the knowledge of academic writing. Finally, I offer implications to this research and concluded by offering rhetorical empathy’s applications in writing studies, especially in writing classroom contexts with a suggestion for a move away from having different sections of college writing class and toward making all college writing courses multilingual sections.