Students learn better when they have positive relationships with their instructors.
Benefits of a positive faculty student relationship
- Students with positive interactions and connections with faculty show
- Greater satisfaction in the overall college experience
- Higher retention rates
- Higher levels of learning
- Greater student involvement in the college community
- Increased student motivation
- Students with high satisfaction with their teachers correlated with perception of greater social presence in the online classroom
- Positive faculty student relationships
- Lead to positive learning climates
- Supports the development of problem solving skills
- Correlates positively with the number of students that go on to graduate school
Fostering positive interaction with students
- Ken Bain found that best college teachers do the following
- Find value in each individual student and their unique abilities
- Believe that each student “requires something special”
- Genuinely believe students will achieve
- Have high standards and express trust that students can meet those standards
- Take students seriously
- Develop mutual respect with students
- Expect “more” but not necessarily “higher”
- Don’t just expect academic achievement rather but expect and support growth as human beings
- Believe that students want to learn
- Provide clear and consistent expectations
- Establish trust and openness
- Tell stories of their own struggles or your intellectual journey
- Show humility and recognition that they are fellow students of life
- Provide evidence that class expectations are fair and consistent
- Other characteristics of a positive faculty student orientation
- Students feel the teacher is personally interested in them
- The teacher shows care about minority groups
- The teacher is approachable inside and outside the classroom
- The teacher views each student as unique
Strategies to develop positive relationships with your students
- Make the effort to know your students 
- Learn student’s names
- Use a seating chart and tell them why
- Take notes about physical appearances
- Take roll in every class
- Use name tags or display name cards until you know the students
- Use the first days of class to get to know your students
- Use index cards for students to write information about themselves
- Share information about yourself
- Spend time on social or content based ice breakers to encourage relationship building and excitement for course content
- Value various viewpoints and model an attitude that embraces critical thinking beyond simple answers
- Use evidence to support your grading- such as rubrics
- Examine your own assumptions and biases toward students
- Use inclusive language, behaviors, and attitudes
- Use active listening in conversations with students
- Learn student’s names
 Vincent Tinto. Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012). 64-65.
 Jennifer C. Richardson & Karen Swan. Examining Social Presence in Online Courses in Relation to Students’ Perceived Learning and Satisfaction. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 7(10). 2003.
 Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marcha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman, How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010).121-152.
 Ken Bain. What the Best College Teachers Do. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Pres, 2004)68-97
 Lang, J. M. (2013). Cheating lessons. Harvard University Press.
 Ambrose et al. How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. 172-173.
 Linda B. Nilson. Teaching at its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. 3rd ed. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010) 43-50.
 Ambrose et al. How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. 180-187.