Politics Of Remediation

Institutional And Student Needs In Higher Education

Demonstrates definitively that use of the term 'remediation' in American higher education is far more firmly tied to institutional and economic circumstances than to students' actual educational needs or desires. . . . Should be required reading for teachers of first-year composition.
Sharon Crowley, Arizona State University
Winner of the 2004 Outstanding Book Award

While some students need more writing instruction than others, The Politics of Remediation reveals how that need also pertains to the institutions themselves. Mary Soliday argues that universities may need remedial English to alleviate their own crises in admissions standards, enrollment, mission, and curriculum, and English departments may use remedial programs to mediate their crises in enrollment, electives, and relationships to the liberal arts and professional schools.Following a brief history of remedial English and the political uses of remediation at CCNY before, during, and after the open admissions policy, Soliday questions the ways in which students’ need for remedial writing instruction has become widely associated with the need to acculturate minorities to the university. In disentangling identity politics from remediation, she challenges a powerful assumption of post-structuralist work: that a politics of language use is equivalent to the politics of access to institutions.

about the author

Mary Soliday

Mary Soliday, associate professor of English at the City College of New York, is Coordinator of the CCNY Writing Fellows Program, and an advocate for open admissions students at the City University of New York.

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Mary Soliday