Faculty and student interactions at the community college: An examination of the interaction order

Amber Archuleta-Lucero, University of Texas at El Paso


Community college students represent 46% of all incoming freshman undergraduate students (American Association of Community Colleges, 2013). Increasingly, research on community colleges is focused on student success and in particular student engagement. One area of student engagement is faculty and student interactions which are an essential part of the collegiate experience. The purpose of this study is to examine faculty and student interactions at the community college, in particular, the type of interactions, the nature of the interactions as well as how students interpret their interactions with faculty members. With an ever growing emphasis on accountability via student success outcomes within community colleges, it becomes important to better understand how best to support students. This study asked the following research questions: What type of interactions occur? What is the nature of the interactions? and How do students (describe or interpret) the interactions? Three primary theories guided this study: Goffman’s (1967, 1969, 1983) interaction order, Stanton-Salazar’s (1997) institutional agents and Rendón’s (1994) validation theory. These three frameworks were used in this qualitative, interpretive approach, which primarily utilized interviews to examine and understand faculty and student interactions. There were 28 interviews as well as participant observation that was conducted at two campuses within one community college. There were 19 students and 9 faculty members that were interviewed and nine themes emerged from the analysis. Specifically, this research can aid policy and practice within community colleges as they seek ways in which to assist students in their educational endeavors.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Archuleta-Lucero, Amber, "Faculty and student interactions at the community college: An examination of the interaction order" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10007407.