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UNF Brooks College publishes study on teacher empathy in higher education

A research study conducted by the University of North Florida’s Department of Nutrition & Dietetics on the importance of teacher empathy in higher education was recently published.

The findings support the theory that contextual factors among students can play a significant role in how instructor empathy is perceived and highlight how instructor empathy can have a significant impact on students including fostering a more positive university experience and success both inside and outside of the classroom.

The research team of associate professor Dr. Andrea Arikawa, assistant professors Drs. Jenifer Ross and Kristen Roof and graduate student Meghan Cosby conducted the study using surveys and focus groups to assess instructor self-reported empathy and students’ perceptions of instructor empathy.

Results showed that instructors consistently rated themselves with relatively high teaching empathy scores, with no demographic or institutional factors playing a role except for class size. On the contrary, students’ perception of teacher empathy was greatly related to GPA, classification and race. Students identified a wide variety of empathy-related traits in their instructors and reported that empathy is most critical during stressful times.

Read “Instructor and Student Perceptions of Teacher Empathy in Higher Education.”