The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type




Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Rachel E. Friedensen

Second Advisor

Emeka A. Ikegwuonu

Third Advisor

Hayley Ashby

Fourth Advisor

Laura Greathouse

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

community college; developmental education; remedial education; California; AB 705; discourse analysis


This critical discourse analysis was conducted to understand how the public entities in California higher education have redefined Assembly Bill (AB) 705, and, in the process, redefined California community college students and the community college mission statement. Current literature on AB 705 has been limited to success stories and data analyses and has been mostly funded by organizations with a stake in the successful implementation of the law. There are currently no studies of the language of the law and the documents that were written to translate the law into layperson’s language. This study used the methodology and methods of critical discourse analysis to delve into the language of AB 705 and nine documents in its discursive constellation to identify the rhetorical strategies used by the authors of the documents and to determine how these strategies were used. The analysis revealed that the language was used to reframe community college students, developmental education, and the law itself, leading to the conclusion that developmental education in California may never “get there.”


Completing a doctoral program and writing this dissertation have been very rewarding experiences for me. I am today a stronger writer, better researcher, and more critical thinker than I was when I started this process. None of these things would have been possible were it not for the help of several people whom I would like to thank here.

First, I would like to thank my dissertation committee members—Drs. Rachel E. Friedensen, Emeka A. Ikegwuonu, Hayley Ashby, and Laura Greathouse—for your time, your insight, and your thoughtfulness. I appreciate how much time you all devoted to helping me through this journey and your wise and insightful comments about my work. I am grateful to you all.

I would also like to thank my unofficial committee members: Dr. Jude Whitton, who inspired me to return to school and cheered me on every week, and Jim Dail, who read and commented on multiple drafts of this dissertation.

Next, I would like to thank my husband Juan Muro and my daughter Kayleigh Muro. Thank you both for all the nights you ate dinner without me and all the times you left me alone in the office to work. I love you both. To my parents, thank you for telling me I should have been a doctor, and for instilling in me a solid work ethic. I did it!

Finally, I would like to thank Angela, Calvin, and Ramona and the thousands of students just like them whom I have had the honor of meeting and teaching over the years. I will continue to work as hard as ever to advocate for you and your right to an education. This degree will help me do that.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.