Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shimizu, Hidetada, 1960-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Higher education; Teaching


In an environment in which performance funding for higher education is increasingly common, mechanisms for improving student success will be important for ensuring a consistent revenue stream for higher education institutions. One important factor found to improve student success is when students perceive rapport with faculty. However, there is a significant gap in the qualitative literature demonstrating how faculty develop and improve rapport with students. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation was to interview award-winning faculty to investigate how they develop rapport with their students. As a result, a qualitative study of 15 award-winning faculty from throughout the eastern and midwestern United States, representing community colleges, small and medium-sized colleges, and universities---was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were held in-person, during which participants were asked to explain how they built rapport with their students. Primary coding to the resulting transcripts occurred using in-vivo and descriptive coding techniques. Secondary coding to sort and organize the initial codes allowed for the emergence of five important themes of rapport-building. The five important themes that emerged from this research are (a) develop trust and make the classroom a "safe learning environment," (b) promote personal contact with students and show them the teacher cares, (c) share personal information without making the classroom a stage for satisfying a teacher's personal ego, (d) promote interstudent rapport, and (e) select authentic approaches for building rapport.


Advisors: Hidetada Shimizu.||Committee members: Daryl Dugas; Gene L. Roth.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vi, 119 pages




Northern Illinois University

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