English Ph.D. Dissertations


Rhetorically Interpreting Ohio Revised Law, Section 3345.281: Comparative Analysis of Two Oral Proficiency Program Models

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English (Rhetoric and Writing)

First Advisor

Lee Nickoson (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Bruce Collet (Other)

Third Advisor

Neil Baird (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Sue Wood Carter (Committee Member)


For the past 30 years, numerous states in America have mandated colleges and universities to ensure the oral proficiency of their international teaching assistants (ITAs). By the 90s, at least 20 states had taken steps to address the problem by creating programs to assess ITAs and providing more language support for those who did not meet assessment expectations. Thus, this grounded theory study explores how the Ohio Revised Code Section 3345.281 impacted the conceptualization of the oral proficiency program at a midsize university in Northwest, Ohio. Through the inquiry of archival records, publications, which document the characteristics for each collected item, coupled with interview data, student survey responses, and observation, creates a methodology that analyzes the complexity of language planning in the process of creating and sustaining an oral proficiency program. Rhetorical narratives revealed an important aspect of institutional history, demonstrating how language practices developed within an ITA program, informing the functions, approaches, and values of two different program models.