240 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:13 Feb 2015
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Pathways of Latinas and Latinos Writing in High School and College

Utah State University Press

Transiciones is a thorough ethnography of seven Latino students in transition between high school and community college or university. Data gathered over two years of interviews with the students, their high school English teachers, and their writing teachers and administrators at postsecondary institutions reveal a rich picture of the conflicted experience of these students as they attempted to balance the demands of schooling with a variety of personal responsibilities.

Todd Ruecker explores the disconnect between students’ writing experiences in high school and higher education and examines the integral role that writing plays in college. Considering the almost universal requirement that students take a writing class in their critical first year of college, he contends that it is essential for composition researchers and teachers to gain a fuller understanding of the role they play in supporting and hindering Latina and Latino students’ transition to college.

Arguing for situating writing programs in larger discussions of high school/college alignment, student engagement, and retention, Transiciones raises the profile of what writing programs can do while calling composition teachers, administrators, and scholars to engage in more collaboration across the institution, across institutions, and across disciplines to make the transition from high school to college writing more successful for this important group of students.

‘This is a work that clearly needs to be published—needs to be heard.’
—Anne Marie Hall, University of Arizona

'Ruecker’s research goal is to create a dialogue that will close the gap between high school and college and get conversations started to better service English language learners. His research provides a solid foundation that encourages positive and proactive discussion.'
CHOICE 'Todd Ruecker offers a significant, action research oriented look at the transition that Latina/os face when leaving high school to pursue a college education. Transiciones: Pathways of Latinas and Latinos Writing in High School and College serves as a call to action.'
—TESOL (Second Language Writing Interest) 

'Because of an action research approach that extends beyond only what takes place within classrooms, [Ruecker's] findings offer possibilities for ways universities can better engage communities as well as how community organizations can support students as they engage the challenges of the college writing transition. Ruecker’s work holds great value for all readers interested in supporting the success of college-going students.'
—Community Literacy Journal 
 'Ruecker succeeds in painting vivid portraits of students graduating from an underfunded border high school with an almost 100% Spanish-speaking demographic, and gives them the credit they are due for their triumphs while describing their deficits in constructive ways. . . . many of his recommendations could (and should) be adopted by university, community colleges, and writing programs everywhere.'
—Composition Studies

 '[T]he rich narratives Ruecker provides have much to offer for multiple audiences including researchers who study first-year experiences, Latina/o students, and the bridge from high school to college; program administrators who design support programs and curriculum; instructors of virtually any discipline who work with students of color and linguistic minority students; policymakers who want to better shape policies and fund programs to boost outcomes, especially for the increasing population of Latina/o students enrolling in postsecondary education; and finally, students in higher education who are learning about the student experience, diversity issues, and program development.'
The Review of Higher Education

'Ruecker’s engaging, carefully researched ethnographic study . . . . calls on scholars, teachers, and literacy practitioners to continue to push institutions toward change in order to better support the literacy transitions and life opportunities of Latina/o students.'

—Community Literacy Journal

Todd Ruecker is assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of New Mexico.

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