Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Mary F. Ziegler

Committee Members

David W. Schumann, Gary Skolits, Elisabeth Schussler


The purpose of this study was to examine the formation of beliefs about teaching held by faculty in their first three years of teaching in higher education classrooms and their perceptions of the ways those views may or may not have changed as they gain experience. This study followed a basic, interpretive approach with a sample of new faculty who explored the formation and enactment of their beliefs about teaching in higher education. Based on a thematic analysis of the interview data, three themes were identified as influencers of belief formation: modeling, teaching experience, and formal instruction. Changes in belief were influenced by tension between expectation and reality in the following areas: administrative tasks, classroom experiences, and teacher identify. The tension acts as both a catalyst for change and an impediment to change. Results indicate that beliefs are influenced and formed in a socially constructed manner and are resistant to change. Implications for graduate education, higher education administration and professional development literature were identified.


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