Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Leadership, Administration, and Research


College of Education


Monica Reid Kerrigan, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Ane Turner Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Beth Wassell, Ed.D.


Community College, Critical Discourse Analysis, Emergent Multilingual Students, Hispanic Serving Institution


English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Leadership | Higher Education


Language acquisition support for Emergent Multilingual, or EML, students in community colleges across the United States does not receive as much attention in research as it does in K-12 schools and universities, despite the growing number of EML students enrolling in community colleges. With 25% of community college students being from immigrant backgrounds, these colleges - HSIs and EHSIs in particular - support for English language acquisition will need more attention and funding. The purpose of this study was to explore the sensemaking that occurred after the interruption of Guided Self-Placement, as well as the discourses present at an EHSI community college in New Jersey that either uphold or challenge the oppressive structures and barriers for EML students. The study employed Fairclough’s (2015) theory of Critical Discourse Analysis to analyze eight interviews with administrators and English faculty at the institution. The study found that discourses of capitalism and English-centrism were dominant across the data, while a discourse of frustration was a counter-discourse. The study also found an absence of Hispanic-Serving discourse in the interviews. The results of this study and the analysis of the findings should serve as a starting point for the institution to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus for EML students as it continues its journey towards HSI status.

Available for download on Thursday, February 12, 2026