Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Michelle Whitacre

Third Advisor

Tonya Thompson


The scholar practitioner explored the problem of practice in the role of empathy in writing center services, focusing on tutoring training. The research aimed to determine if empathy training and mindfulness could enhance the empathetic practices of writing center staff, and if such enhancements would make students using writing center services feel more included, seen, and heard during tutoring sessions. The problem of practice was examined through three lenses: tutor training, understanding empathy in the context of a writing center environment, and the perceptions of empathy from the students using writing center services. A mixed-methods approach, incorporating both qualitative and quantitative data, was employed. Data collection methods included open-ended surveys, a stakeholder focus group, pre- and post-surveys using a 5-point Likert scale, document analysis of writing center websites, and reflection responses from writing center staff and tutors’ post-empathy training. Findings indicated experienced staff were aware of empathetic practices, with less experienced tutors showing higher empathy scores. The study's alignment with the EdD Leadership framework highlighted the importance of a human-centric approach, suggesting empathy training could lead to organizational change within writing center pedagogy, technology, ethics, equity, and social justice within writing centers. The implementation of empathy training modules into tutor programs emerged as a key strategy for meeting students' needs who use the writing center services, promoting equity, and enhancing empathy in the writing center environment. The research underscored the critical role of empathy in educational settings, offering insights for further integration of empathetic practices in tutor training programs and consistent writing center professional development.