Mary FettersFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Russell G. Yocum


Critical Writing, English Composition, First-year Composition, Southern Cutlure, Southern Literature, Writing Process


English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority


The purpose of this hermeneutical phenomenological study was to develop a deeper understanding of the perceptions of students, faculty, administration, and visiting Southern authors of the effectiveness of Chattanooga State Community College’s Writers@Work program for encouraging composition student writing and learning about Southern culture. Southern culture is defined as phenomena which shape the regional experience and resonate through the lives of individuals native to the US South. Participants in the study that was conducted in Chattanooga, Tennessee consisted of two current English administrators, four current English professors, eight composition students who participated in the Writers@Work program, and two visiting Southern authors whose works were used as the common texts for the Writers@Work program for two academic years. Data collection was conducted through one focus group, interviews, and textual analysis of the Writers@Work common texts used during the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 academic years. Data analysis was performed ontologically (Creswell, 2013) using phenomenological reflection (van Manen, 1990) and thematic analysis (Ayers, 2008; van Manen, 1990). The results of this phenomenological qualitative study show the Writers@Work program provides greater depth of materials and a more meaningful learning experience for students by combining Southern literature with composition studies. This approach provides greater opportunities for students to learn more about Southern culture while advancing their critical thinking and written communication skills. The combined perspectives presented in this study demonstrate the effectiveness of a program, such as Writers@Work, for providing an enhanced and inspirational learning experience that enriches the overall experience for stakeholders.