Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Ginny Birky, PhD

Second Advisor

Patrick Allen, PhD

Third Advisor

Scot Headley, PhD


Higher education instruction is a relational practice that requires skill, reflection, and intentional effort. Faculty-student relationships are critical to learning. Interpersonal boundaries between community college faculty and students are a dimension of the faculty-student relationship that is under-researched and minimally understood.

The purpose of this research was to qualitatively and phenomenologically explore faculty perceptions of their awareness of boundaries between themselves and community college students. Data were collected from seven faculty who work at a large Northwestern community college. Interviews were conducted to explore faculty perceptions of how they become aware of, arrive at, and negotiate change of their interpersonal boundaries between themselves and community college students.

Data resulted in themes that gave insight to faculty experience of general boundaries, how course content and teaching strategies reflect their boundaries, and how opportunities to negotiate boundaries are inexplicably tied to the uniqueness of the community college student and setting. The results could assist ongoing teaching and learning opportunities for community college faculty.