Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Heather Schugar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Van Schooneveld, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Marc Bertrando, Ed.D.


This collective case study examines positive interpersonal caring student-teacher relationships and how those relationships foster student engagement. The researcher utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods including Bulach’s (1998) Behavioral Characteristics of a Caring Teacher, classroom observations, and student and teacher focus group interviews in order to answer the main research question: how are positive interpersonal caring relationships between middle school teachers and middle school students associated with student engagement? Results of this study identified specific caring attributes of middle school teachers. Specifically, this study found that caring middle school teachers (a) developed a rapport and community with students, (b) took a personal interest in students, and (c) were frequently available for their students.