A Study of Motivation Types and Behavior of Graduate Students in Future Faculty Preparation Programs



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There currently exists a challenge in higher education to improve undergraduate education. The development and more adequate preparation of future faculty, who are current graduate students, is one of several options identified as a viable strategy to address this challenge.

This dissertation explored the quality of motivation as a factor affecting the preparation or socialization of future faculty at two top-tier universities. The quality of motivation is believed salient to preparation and socialization. This study focused on the motivation types of teaching-focused future faculty preparation program (FFPP) completers, their programmatic experiences, and various personal and social factors, such as gender, program, and academic discipline, as reason for motivation type.

This mixed methods research study was based on the tenets of self-determination theory and revealed quantitatively, through inferential statistics, that a significant difference exists in the motivation type of participants based on gender, program, and academic discipline. Qualitative findings, from focus group interviews, were that FFPP design characteristics included elements to satisfy the innate psychological need for competence but fell short in meeting the need for relatedness.

The findings offer insights into aspects that affect the quality of motivation in program participants. They also suggest that in order to more adequately prepare and socialize future faculty, consideration must be given to the importance of satisfying innate psychological needs in an effort to enhance the quality of participant motivation. Both findings support the importance of relatedness in affecting the quality of motivation.

The findings of this study support the notion that certain demographic or contextual factors, as well as the satisfaction of innate psychological needs are critical to motivation quality, internalization, behavior, and socialization. The results of this study will contribute to program developers' awareness of motivation quality and its effect on behavior to enhance the design of teaching-focused future faculty preparation programs and socialization. Through the use of motivation quality, this study serves as a catalyst for the more adequate preparation of future faculty to improve undergraduate education.