Research in Higher Education

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 767–788 | Cite as

Pedagogical Signals of Faculty Approachability: Factors Shaping Faculty–Student Interaction Outside the Classroom

  • Bradley E. CoxEmail author
  • Kadian L. McIntosh
  • Patrick T. Terenzini
  • Robert D. Reason
  • Brenda R. Lutovsky Quaye


Decades of research demonstrate that college students benefit from positive interaction with faculty members, although that same evidence suggests that those interactions are far from common, particularly outside the classroom. Moreover, relatively little is known about which, when, how, and why faculty members choose to engage with students outside of the classroom. Guided by the theory that faculty members use in-class behaviors to signal their “psychosocial approachability” for out-of-class interaction with students (Wilson et al. in Sociology of Education 47(1):74–92, 1974; College professors and their impact on students, 1975), this study uses data from 2,845 faculty members on 45 campuses to identify the personal, institutional, and pedagogical factors that influence the frequency and type of interaction faculty members have with students outside of the classroom.


College teaching Student–faculty contact (interaction) Psychosocial approachability Faculty gender Contingent faculty Pedagogical signals 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bradley E. Cox
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kadian L. McIntosh
    • 2
  • Patrick T. Terenzini
    • 2
  • Robert D. Reason
    • 2
  • Brenda R. Lutovsky Quaye
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational Leadership and Policy StudiesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Higher EducationPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Office of Student ConductUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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