Caring About Success: Students’ Perceptions of Professors’ Caring Matters More Than Grit

Allison Buskirk-Cohen
Delaware Valley University

Aria Plants
Delaware Valley University

Retention in higher education has become an important area of focus in recent years; however, much of the research has been conducted on large, research-intensive universities, leading to questions of whether these findings apply to institutions with different characteristics. In the current study, forty-four students at a small, teaching-focused university completed self-report measures on their academic success (performance and commitment), sense of belonging, and grit. Participants were classified as belonging to one of four groups: HPHC (high performing, high commitment), HPLC (high performing, low commitment), LPHC (low performing, high commitment), or LPLC (low performing, low commitment). ANOVAs and post-hoc tests revealed that LPLC students were significantly lower than all other groups on self-reported professors’ pedagogical caring. Interestingly, no group differences emerged for grit, social acceptance, or global university belonging. Implications for prevention and intervention programs are discussed.

Copyright © 2019, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education