Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Sydney Parent


Researchers have discovered that a low level of instructor motivation can have negative effects on instructors, such as low-quality teaching and low engagement for the students. The purpose of this study was to explore university instructors' experience with motivation and how it might be important to their graduate students' experiences and success. This qualitative case study followed the conceptual framework of two motivational theories: the self-determination theory and the achievement goal theory. The research question explored instructor motivation and how students perceived that motivation. Furthermore, the research question and subquestions were designed to reveal ways instructor motivation influences graduate students. The study included 8 graduate students and 6 instructors of graduate students. Data sources were 2 written assignments with instructor feedback and interview responses of graduate students and instructors of graduate students. Data analysis included reviewing responses to interview questions and instructor feedback on written assignments. Open coding and axial coding were used to help ensure that categorization of the data was accurate. The resulting themes were (a) [The belief in student abilities], (b) [Being physically and mentally present], (c) [Relatedness], (d) [Instructor/Student synergy], and (e) [Instructor immediacy]. When the graduate students felt the instructor possessed high levels of motivation, they too felt highly motivated. The findings of this study tie instructor motivation to students and students' motivation back to the instructors. The instructor's and student's levels of motivation also impacted their coworkers or peers' level of motivation. The findings of this study could lead to future studies confirming the tie between instructors' and students' motivation and how it is contagious to those who are exposed to it.