Date of Award

Winter 12-22-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Science Teaching


Tillotson, John J. T.


instructional practice, organizational climate, postsecondary STEM education, quantitative, teacher identity

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education | Science and Mathematics Education


Many empirical studies on the factors associated with the use of evidence-based instructional practices have examined the individual and contextual characteristics. However, little attention has been afforded to the role of context and practice on teacher identity. This dissertation consists of three-article style papers that examine the relationship between contextual factors, teacher identity, and instructional practices to fill this gap in the literature. Chapter 1 provides a deep understanding of organizational climate in STEM departments concerning teaching practices. Significant differences in organizational factors such as leadership, resources, and respect for teaching were found between graduate instructors and the faculty. Similarly, Chapter 2 is an exploratory study that reported significant differences among instructors at different career stages. Future work includes the need for ongoing research to study the nature of context and its impact on instructional practices and teacher identity construction. In addition, given the potential benefits to graduate instructors, doctoral programs need to be designed to support students in their professional preparation to teach college STEM. Finally, Chapter 3 investigated whether there is a mediating effect of student-centered practices on the relationship between perceived leadership and teacher identity. Results showed that student-centered practices did not mediate the relationship between leadership and teacher identity. However, the mediation analysis revealed that student-centered practices significantly predict teacher identity. In other words, instructors who reported higher use of student-centered practices are likely to have a high sense of teacher identity. The findings imply that teaching practices are essential components of teacher identity formation for postsecondary STEM instructors. Overall, the studies in this dissertation project help us better understand faculty teaching experiences through the lens of organizational climate and teacher identity development.


Open Access

Available for download on Friday, November 01, 2024