Date of Award

Spring 4-4-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. David Stinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Deron Boyles

Third Advisor

Dr. Janice Fournillier

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Chris Jett


There are several studies that provide evidence to suggest that undergraduate students’ interactions with faculty are central in shaping their engagement, which enhances their learning outcomes and influences their decision to remain enrolled (Cole & Griffin, 2013; Kim & Lundberg, 2016; Kim & Sax, 2017, 2009). But most studies on student–faculty interactions do not consider the unique attributes that constitute interactions. Researchers in the past few decades who have considered conditional attributes have examined effects across gender, race, first-generation status, age, and social class (e.g., Cole & Griffin, 2013; Kim & Sax, 2017). Once these conditional attributes were taken into consideration, the evidence suggested that student–faculty interactions are not always beneficial for every student; in fact, they are the most often mentioned way that minoritized students’ engagement and learning might be hindered (Kim & Lundberg, 2016; Park et al., 2020b).

Therefore, in this study, I took a closer look at student–faculty interactions by examining interactions as contextual and contingent experiences. I employed analytic autoethnography (Anderson, 2006) to examine the self, characterized as the Subject, by interrogating her past values, beliefs, and perspectives as an undergraduate mathematics educator. I used, largely, past course syllabi over several years and, in part, transcribed colleague and student interview data to highlight the Subject’s transforming perceptions, beliefs, and values in mathematics teaching and learning. The Subject’s pedagogical transformations toward a critically transitive pedagogy were a result of her shifting values and perceptions of mathematics and the student learner, which shaped her interactions with her students.

I employed a critical postmodern framework (see Stinson, 2009; Stinson & Bullock, 2012, 2015) to consider how student–faculty interactions are politically situated, maintained, and reproduced through systems of power and power relations. I examined the context of the Subject’s pedagogical transformations and applied Foucault’s (1982) concept of power relations to the analysis to illuminate the influences in her transformations. By applying Foucault’s conceptualization of power, I recognized that the Subject’s perception contained power relations that operated when she confined a student’s mathematical self through “traditional” perspectives of mathematics and mathematics pedagogy. All in all, using a critical postmodern framework for this study provided conceptual tools to reveal how traditional mathematics pedagogical practices are hindering the learning of many (most?) undergraduate mathematics students and to point the way toward more productive possibilities––a critically transitive pedagogy.


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