Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



Morbach, J. K. (2015). Characteristics of an appropriate instructor-student relationship in allied health. M.A. thesis, University of Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the faculty of The Graduate College of the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professors Donald Uerling and Brent Cejda. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Julie K. Morbach


In most allied health educational programs, the instructors are individuals who are experts in their field, but do not have a certificate in teaching. Furthermore, these individuals may feel a sense of loneliness when transitioning from working in a department with co-workers to being the sole instructor of a discipline-specific program. Because of this sense of isolation and the amount of time spent with the same students, instructors may begin to perceive students more as friends and confidants. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of educators regarding the instructor-student relationship in allied health programs in the Midwest. Little research has been conducted within allied health concerning this topic. Twelve instructors within allied health programs of study were interviewed. The interviews were transcribed and coded by the researcher. Approachability, professionalism, investment in students, personal judgment/moral compass, and consequences were identified as key characteristics of instructor-student interactions in the allied health programs selected. The findings suggest that instructors want their students to feel comfortable coming to them. They truly care about how they are perceived by the students along with the success of the students in these intense programs. According to the informants, the instructor-student relationship can become an issue when the instructor is young, or new to teaching.

Advisors: Donald Uerling and Brent Cejda