Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Instructional Design and Development

Committee Chair

Shenghua Zha, Ph.D.


Basic writers have long needed support to write more successfully at the postsecondary level. One method currently used is embedded tutoring programs, where students receive the support of the instructor and a tutor throughout the entire semester of first-year composition programs. These programs often provide students with academic and professional support, helping them learn to write for the university and beyond. While these programs have shown to be successful in the current literature on embedded tutoring programs, a gap in the research is that many of these studies focus on student outcomes and student success. Hardly any of these studies focus on the relationships that form between instructors and tutors. This study aims to fill that gap to determine best practices for designing embedded tutoring programs and creating better partnerships between instructors and tutors. A research study was conducted to examine these partnerships using a grounded theory methodology. In this study, 23 tutors and 17 instructors with 39 resulting dyads were studied to understand the roles of tutors and instructors and what interrelationships patterns form due to these partnerships. This research had a couple of key findings. Even thought university rules and accrediting body guidelines primary dictate the responsibilities of tutors and instructors, some parts of their roles are negotiated between instructors and tutors. Instructors and tutors have different perceptions of their roles that impact how well they work with one another. The researchers also found that instructors and tutors work best when there is open communication and collaboration between the partners. Those who clearly establish roles and boundaries and maintain them throughout have the best partnerships. Instructors must be willing to relinquish some of their power and authority to foster a better relationship with their tutors. Lastly, in embedded tutoring programs, tutors grow as professionals learning through a cognitive apprenticeship. Program coordinators can take these findings to help them better design, develop, implement, and evaluate embedded tutoring courses for first-year composition courses and beyond.