Dissertation Title:

Transformational Literacy in Education


Tracy Marrs

Date, Time & Place:

September 22, 2021 at 9:00 am


In California, more than two-million students annually enroll in a community college to achieve a specific goal. Historically, completion rates for these students show that less than half will achieve their intended goal within six years from the day they begin attending classes. The combination of reasons for not completing the transformational journey of academic success is as varied as the students that attend community college. The reasons to become delayed or to quit can include academic deficiencies, financial hardships, social obligations, and other personal issues. Community colleges have resources to support students’ various needs, but many students who fail will not or do not know how to seek that support. This dissertation is a qualitative study of mythological studies, depth psychology, and educational research to create a plan to increase students’ ability to become active participants in their educational careers.

To support students’ needs for academic literacy, many community colleges once required, and still provide remedial reading courses. These classes demonstrated success in teaching students the academic skills they needed to read and understand college-level texts. However, the students that completed these courses had a lower completion rate for college than the general student population. This dissertation proposes the reason these classes do not achieve long-term results is because they do not address the comprehensive needs of the students. These needs are addressed through the curriculum with the addition of archetypal transformational literature and personal narrative writing.

The curriculum created for this dissertation bridges the gap from where students are and where they need to be academically. More importantly, it also includes interpersonal and personal resources for academic success using mythological and personal narratives as models. After building an understanding of transformation through Underworld models, the curriculum incorporates personal hero narrative writing to address students’ academic literacy skills beyond reading and transfer the knowledge from the classroom into the personal life experiences of the students. With these tools, they will be more likely to persist through inevitable challenges and find success in community college and beyond, back into the community.

  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies, I, 2013
  • Chair: Dr. Maureen Murdock
  • Reader: Dr. Jacqueline Feather
  • External Reader: Dr. Kathryn Weiss
  • Keywords: Transformation, Literacy, Underworld, Mythology, Adult Education, Persistence