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How Student Faculty Interactions Influence Student Motivation: A Longitudinal Study Using Self Determination Theory

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Knowing our Students, Faculty, and Profession

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.650.1 - 15.650.19



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Paper Authors


Katherine Winters Virginia Tech

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Katherine Winters is a doctoral student and Graduate Teaching Fellow in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She has a M.S. in Civil Engineering and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Brigham Young University. Her research interests include engineering student motivation and identity.

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Holly Matusovich Virginia Tech

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Holly Matusovich is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. Dr. Matusovich recently joined Virginia Tech after completing her doctoral degree in Engineering Education at Purdue University. She also has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Materials Science with a concentration in Metallurgy. Additionally Dr. Matusovich has four years of experience as a consulting engineer and seven years of industrial experience in a variety of technical roles related to metallurgy and quality systems for an aerospace supplier. Dr. Matusovich’s research interests include the role of motivation in learning engineering as well as retention and diversity concerns within engineering education and engineering as a profession.

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Ruth Streveler Purdue Universtiy

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Ruth A. Streveler is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Before coming to Purdue she spent 12 years at Colorado School of Mines, where she was the founding Director of the Center for Engineering Education. Dr. Streveler earned a BA in Biology from Indiana University-Bloomington, MS in Zoology from the Ohio State University, and Ph.D in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawaii at M?noa. Her primary research interest is investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

How Student-Faculty Interactions Influence Student Motivation: A Longitudinal Study Using Self-Determination Theory


Through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and other sources we have quantitative measures of student-faculty interactions and we know that such interactions impact learning. Yet we know little about the quality of these interactions or how such interactions -determination motivation theory, this research begins addressing this gap using interviews with students to explore students perceptions of interactions with faculty and how such interactions impact students autonomy, competence and relatedness beliefs. The interviews, collected annually with each participant for four years, were analyzed using multi-case methods. The results of our analysis across all four years show that -support decrease after the first year, that students do not generally describe competence supporting behaviors by faculty, and that students are generally positive about relatedness with faculty other than in the third year. Over all four years, more women report positive relatedness than men, while men are much more likely to report neutral feelings or not discuss the topic. The primary implication for practice is the need for faculty to be more aware of the many unintended ways their actions can influence students.


relationships within the engineering community, including engineering faculty members.1 As part of the undergraduate education process, faculty guide students through thousands of hours in classrooms and laboratories. To design better educational experiences for engineering students, faculty must understand how students perceive these interactions and how such interactions contribute to engagement in learning. Using self-determination theory 2 and analyzing ns of interactions with faculty and how these interactions changed during their four undergraduate years.

Literature Review

Self-determination theory (SDT) posits the importance of socio-contextual factors in human motivation.3, 4 In learning environments, socio-contextual factors include social aspects such as relationships with teachers and faculty. Social aspects of learning are important but are infrequently studied. In a review of social motivation and the classroom social environment, Patrick, Anderman, and A. M. Ryan5 concluded that more research is needed to understand how social aspects of the classroom, including the role of the teacher, positively and negatively Research that does exist focuses on the social aspects of learning and student motivation and has typically been limited to primary and secondary school children.6 There is little research examining the social aspects of learning in college and particularly the role of faculty in s

Winters, K., & Matusovich, H., & Streveler, R. (2010, June), How Student Faculty Interactions Influence Student Motivation: A Longitudinal Study Using Self Determination Theory Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16324

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