This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Graduate Students' Perceptions of Master Teaching




Edge, Jon Mitchell

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study examined graduate students’ perceptions of master teaching qualities and behaviors exhibited by graduate-level faculty. The Teacher Behavior Checklist (Buskist, Sikorski, Buckley, & Saville, 2002) was administered to graduate students who were asked to rate the extent to which their graduate-level faculty exhibited each of the 28 items using a Likert rating method (1 = never exhibits this quality to 5 = frequently exhibits this quality). Result indicated that Masters and Doctoral students agreed on seven of the top-ten TBC qualities: knowledgeable; enthusiastic; respectful; confident; effective communicator; promotes critical thinking; and provides constructive feedback. The qualities knowledgeable and enthusiastic were rated first and second by both groups. Academic demographics (degree type, age, years pursuing degree, foreign/U.S. undergraduate education, reported teaching experience, and academic discipline) were examined to determine their effects on item ratings. Statistically significant differences were found for item ratings on all academic demographics except degree type. Statistically significant differences were also found for subscale ratings on variables degree type, age, and academic discipline. Comparisons between graduate students and selected undergraduate student samples highlight differences between the levels of students. Across eight samples of students only two qualities are constant: knowledgeable and confident. Further, only graduate students and two other samples of undergraduate students included the quality promotes critical thinking. Analysis of each teaching subscale revealed broader differences: Master’s and Ph.D. students valued opposite subscales, and graduate students emphasized the professional competency/communication subscale over the caring/supportive subscale. These differences shed light on the nature of the graduate student learner and serve as an important guide for graduate-level faculty wishing to pursue and maintain teaching excellence.