Undergraduate Students’ Perspectives of Essential Instructor Qualities

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Beth Trammell Rosalie Aldrich


Preferences for who an instructor is and how he or she behaves have a substantial impact on a student’s overall experience in the college classroom. There are many variables that impact a classroom experience including the instructor, the student, and the class itself. Much research has been done in the area of undergraduate student expectations and preferences for instructors, course format, etc. This paper explores how specific student characteristics such as first-generation status, and age together with class level and format impact students’ perception of what makes a good instructor. By understanding what instructor qualities these students appreciate, instructors can tailor their behavior to improve student learning and retention. Results suggest few differences within and between these groups of students. However, students had strong preferences for a high number of positive instructor characteristics, suggesting the possibility of overly optimistic and unrealistic preferences. Implications of this and suggestions for how instructors can better accommodate the preferences of students are discussed.


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Trammell, B., & Aldrich, R. (2016). Undergraduate Students’ Perspectives of Essential Instructor Qualities. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(1), 15-30. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v16i1.19178