Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Rhetoric and Professional Communication

First Advisor

Barbara Blakely


This research study explores the composing practices of several first-year composition students in two English 250 classes offered at Iowa State University. The study examines and analyzes intercultural awareness students have regarding race, diversity, and life, their own and others’. Using the inductive analysis research design, the research establishes a baseline perspective of students as they perceive themselves or not perceive themselves as “raced bodies.” Additionally, the baseline informs concurrent and emerging themes that students portray when exploring their own self-authorship and their persistent beliefs about how race and culture are or are not significant to composition studies. The relevance of the critical race lens, an identification of racial influences present in all sectors of US society, is a key element of this research study, for in it, the researcher discovers the extent of the social, cultural, and racial influences students perceive in the classroom. The English 250 classes taught had students from various racial backgrounds and skillsets. The class began with the Implicit Association Test on Race that informed students of the test’s interpretation of any pre-existing racial biases they may have had. The course curriculum encouraged students to view themselves from educational, social, and cultural perspectives that helped them gain confidence in self-authorship. The curriculum also included readings from a multicultural reader and racially/culturally-based analyses of scholarship on and about authors from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. Subsequent analysis of student work yielded results that revealed any initial biases students had about race. It also revealed the extent to which students achieved cultural awareness during the course.


Copyright Owner

Paula Fender



File Format


File Size

139 pages