Date of Degree


Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)


Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Dr. Gudrun Nyunt

Committee Members

Dr. Katy Jaekel, Dr. Jacqueline Mac


belonging, classroom climate, connected classroom climate, community, peer interaction, self-disclosure, communication, basic communication course, instructors, students


The concept of a connected classroom climate considers that peer-to-peer interaction, not just instructor-student interaction, contributes to a sense of community in the classroom that can impact student outcomes. This qualitative case study considers both student and instructor perceptions of what contributes to that sense of connection in the classroom at a mid-size, four-year, Hispanic-serving university. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and member checks with students and instructors who engaged in the first-year basic communication course during the Spring 2022 semester. Five themes emerged in this study: a) the communication classroom is uniquely positioned to create a sense of community; b) student and instructor participants expressed different views on why and from whom students seek academic and social-emotional support; c) student and instructor participants expected instructors to encourage student participation and interactions; and d) instructor participants, in speaking to the intentional ways they make decisions about what they self-disclose in the classroom, revealed differences, particularly by gender, in the type of information they self-disclosed and why, with student participant views of the value of instructor self-disclosure aligning more with those of the women participants; and e) non-first year student participants felt less connected to their classmates than their first-year peers in the basic communication course. Given the diverse student and faculty participants in this study, findings add to the understanding of connected classroom climate at minority-serving institutions. Additional contributions to the current body of research on connected classroom climate, as well as implications for further research and practice, are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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