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What behaviors do students consider as representative of exemplary teaching? Do those representations vary by context? This study evaluates 176 student nominations for a teaching award that asked nominators to articulate specific acts by individual instructors that exemplify “great teaching.” Through an iterative process, our content analysis identified 10 themes, which generally represent socioemotional connection, behaviors relevant to student learning, and instructor characteristics. We also identified two themes—the instructor as a model and as someone whose efforts exceed expectations—that do not appear frequently in existing literature. The quantitative analysis revealed that frequency of themes differed for instructors from traditional liberal arts and sciences disciplines and those from professional programs in the health sciences.
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