Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sean W. Morey

Committee Members

Kirsten F. Benson, Jeffrey M. Ringer, Susan L. Groenke


This study focuses on writing program administrators’ (WPAs) views towards the definition and value of multimodality within their first-year writing program curriculum. Furthermore, the study seeks to discover how first-year writing programs go about integrating a multimodal focus, including support structures that are in place, such as training, equipment, technology, and other resources. Multimodality has become a popular topic of discussion for those in Rhetoric/Composition, yet its program-wide implementation remains low. This study updates a 2005 study published in Composition Studies, which provided an overview of what participants labeled as multimodal or new media for their Composition classroom instruction (Anderson, Atkins, Ball, Millar, Selfe, & Selfe)

Much of the scholarship on multimodality has centered on defining the concept, proposing practical ways to incorporate multimodality into instruction, and analyzing the pros and cons of its incorporation. So far, not much scholarship has been directly targeted to WPAs. This project explores the theoretical approaches to multimodality through curriculum implementation by presenting an overview of what works for writing programs across institutional contexts, from doctoral granting institutions to associate’s colleges.

This research was explored through the theoretical frameworks of antiracism and utilitarianism. Methodology included surveys and semi-structured interviews via Zoom. Data analysis was used to identify themes of student and faculty perception of multimodality, balancing expectations and faculty experiences, and labor conditions. Implications for navigating curriculum changes while balancing structural disadvantages within programs are discussed. Further research is warranted for expanding this research into even more diverse contexts.

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