Multiliteracy centers: implementing critical change to transform California State University writing centers

The topic of this study was multiliteracy competencies and multiliteracy centers on California State University (CSU) campuses. In this study, multiliteracies were defined as WORDS: writing, oral, reading, digital and social competencies. The purpose of this research is first, to determine California State University (CSU) students’ perceptions of multiliteracy competencies and what services they recommend would benefit them. Second, to determine what are significant predictors that lead to strong writing, oral, reading, digital and social literacies for students. Third, to evaluate CSU writing center coordinators’ perceptions of expanding writing center services to include multiliteracy support for students. There are four total research questions that drive this study, three qualitative and one quantitative. This study utilized a concurrent triangulation mixed methods approach. This meant that both qualitative and quantitative data was collected simultaneously from participants and the results were triangulated with the theoretical frameworks and the literature review to demonstrate a well-rounded viewpoint of the topic (Boudah, 2011; Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). Two surveys were created, one distributed to CSU students and the other distributed to CSU writing center coordinators. The students’ survey contained both qualitative and quantitative questions while the coordinators’ survey contained only qualitative questions. There were four research question for this study, three qualitative and one quantitative, regarding students’ multiliteracy attitudes, recommended services and what variables can predict strong competencies in writing, oral, reading, digital and social literacies. The final research question explored writing center coordinators’ perceptions regarding a writing center expansion to include multiliteracy assistance and what obstacles they could potentially face with this expansion. The results indicated that many students felt positive and negative regarding their multiliteracy competencies and felt they would benefit from increased resources, workshops, classes and tutoring. Practice and instruction in the classroom and from a tutor were significant predictors that led to strong multiliteracy competencies in the five focus areas. Writing center coordinators revealed that they already provide some multiliteracy assistance with tutoring and workshops but they are not explicitly offering multiliteracy tutoring yet. Finally, their responses revealed that without proper resources, funding and institutional support they will not likely expand services despite the fact that they felt positive regarding a multiliteracy center expansion. A total of seven recommendations for action emerged from this study. Five from the qualitative findings and two recommendations emerged from the quantitative findings. These recommendations included: Instructional support, faculty professional development, multiliteracy center tutoring, increased communication between faculty and mental health services, increased funding and institutional support as well as multiliteracy practice and instruction in the classroom and finally, with a tutor. It is up to instructors, writing center coordinators and administration to execute these recommendations and implement them on CSU campuses for students. Although many themes emerged from the findings, not all of them fit within the scope of this study and therefore are potential suggested areas of future research. Educators could explore training and Multiliteracy Across the Curriculum (MAC) professional development, examine CSU Channel Islands as a multiliteracy center within the CSU system. Additionally, a set alone study that examines faculty and administrations’ attitudes towards multiliteracy instruction and support, a study of students’ anxiety factors in the classroom as well as examining students’ multiliteracy competencies by using pre- and post-tests to determine at what frequency and duration students need to receive multiliteracy practice and instruction in order to improve their competencies.