Emerging Scholars Project

Co-PIs: Shannon Madden & Sandra Tarabochia
Funded by: National Council of Teachers of English ($10,000)
Award date: 2017

We are studying how doctoral students and early career faculty—a group we refer to as “emerging scholars”—perceive and respond to writing challenges, (re)construct writing identities, adapt motivational strategies, and navigate power dynamics related to changing roles and relationships. Although emerging scholars are gaining recognition as a group of writers in need of continued instruction and support, researchers rarely take a developmental perspective on their writing needs and no studies that we know of consider the two groups (graduate students and faculty) together. We assert that a broader understanding of emerging scholars’ development will inform work with these writers and will also challenge misconceptions about the teaching and learning of writing, particularly the assumption that writing instruction should already have taken place prior to entering a discipline.


  • The first article on our study and findings, “In Transition: Researching the Writing Development of Graduate Students and Faculty” was published in Writing and Pedagogy (2019) in a special issue on “Writing Development Across the Lifespan” guest edited by Charles Bazerman. Read the full article: Tarabochia & Madden (2019)

Research Presentations:

  • In March 2017, both researchers presented on the method and pilot study findings at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Portland, OR.
  • In March 2018, both researchers co-facilitated an afternoon workshop on “Research Based Support for Graduate and Faculty Writers” at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Kansas City, MO.
  • In June 2018, both researchers gave an invited plenary talk about the innovative analytical method developed in our study at the inaugural Writing through the Lifespan conference in Athens, Ohio.
  • In June 2018, Madden gave an invited keynote at the Consortium on Graduate Communication Summer Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan that included new focus group data related to equity and epistemic justice from the doctoral student study.
  • In June 2018, both researchers co-presented findings on emotional labor in mentoring relationship at the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference in Auburn, AL.
  • In October 2018, Tarabochia presented new interview data from faculty writers at the Watson Conference on Writing and Rhetoric in Louisville, KY.
  • In March 2019, both researchers will co-present new findings at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Pittsburgh, PA.