The One-to-One Survey: Traditional versus Non-Traditional Student Satisfaction with Professors during One-to-One Contacts

By Rosenthal, Gary T.; Folse, Earl J. et al. | College Student Journal, June 2000 | Go to article overview

The One-to-One Survey: Traditional versus Non-Traditional Student Satisfaction with Professors during One-to-One Contacts


Rosenthal, Gary T., Folse, Earl J., Alleman, Nancy W., Boudreaux, Dwight, Soper, Barlow, Von Bergen, Clarence, College Student Journal


The characteristics of positive and negative one-to-one student-faculty interactions were examined with non-traditional and traditional undergraduates. Analyses indicated that non-traditional and traditional students responded to interactions similarly; however, the percentages of nontraditional and traditional students reporting helping/accommodating or belittling themes in their interactions were significantly different.

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Several researchers have commented on how professors can enhance student-faculty relationships (e.g. Folse, Rosenthal, Boudreaux & Soper, 1994; Smith, Medendorp, Ranck, Morrison, & Kopfman, 1994; Walsh & Maffei, 1994). However, most research has focused on identifying the characteristics of the "ideal" teacher, or the "ideal" student-faculty relationship; but has not linked such relationships with academic outcomes. For example, Smith et al. (1994) asked students to generate a series of items that characterized an ideal teacher. Garko, Kough, Pignata, Kimmel, and Eison (1994) asked students to imagine the type of relationship they "would like to have" with an instructor. Neither study related student-faculty relationships to course performance.

In contrast to these studies, Folse and Rosenthal, (Folse, Rosenthal, Boudreaux & Soper, 1994; Tabony, Folse, Rosenthal, Boudreaux, & Soper, 1995) have adopted a reality-based and molar approach to the subject. Their "One-to-one" survey examined "real interactions" rather than "imagined or idealized relationships". They argued that student-faculty "interactions" are more frequent than student-faculty "relationships"; and that research should focus on the least positive interaction as well as the most positive a student experienced. Finally, the survey stresses that the interactions must be one-to-one (personal) thus, minimizing the effects of in-class factors on the survey variables.

The current study is a readministation and revision of the One-to-one survey. The instrument utilizes both closed-ended and narrative items. Its purpose is twofold. First, to determine if students feel that one-to-one interactions effect their performance in the course and evaluation of the professor. Second, to compare the responses of a sample of non-traditional students to a sample of traditional students. Non-traditional students were defined as students over 25 years old, and/or married, and/or with children based upon the definition used by the Order of Athena, a sorority for non-traditional students (Constitution of the Order of Athena, 1995). Non-traditional students often report different concerns than traditional students (Bean & Metzner, 1985); it was expected that their responses would differ from traditional students.

The research hypotheses were divided into those concerning the sample as a whole, and those contrasting non-traditional with traditional undergraduates. Hypotheses concerning the entire sample consisted of the following: (a) Students who experienced a positive interaction would report a greater tendency to initiate such interactions. (b) Students who experienced a negative interaction would be less likely to initiate such interactions. (c) Students who experienced a positive interaction with one professor would report greater satisfaction with their interactions with all faculty. (d) Students who experienced a negative interaction with one professor would report less satisfaction with their interactions with all faculty.

Hypotheses contrasting non-traditional students (NTS) and traditional students (TS) were as follows: (a) NTS and TS would differ in their tendencies to initiate one-to-one interactions. (b) NTS and TS would differ in their overall satisfaction with such interactions. (c) NTS and TS would differ in the extent to which positive and negative interactions affect their reports of course performance. (d) NTS and TS would differ to the extent which positive and negative interactions affect their student evaluations of the professor. …

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