Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Carol-Anne Phekoo

Second Committee Member

Randall Penfield

Third Committee Member

Margaret Crosbie-Burnett

Fourth Committee Member

Scott Ingold

Fifth Committee Member

Nicholas Myers

Sixth Committee Member

Molly Ott


The relationship between students’ ratings of their instructors and student retention at the University of Miami was examined, extending a new thread of retention research which investigates the impact of students’ classroom experiences on their persistence. The predictive ability of other factors known to impact retention (including students’ race/ethnicity, SAT scores, family income, and grade-point averages) was also examined, and these were controlled for to discern the unique contribution of student ratings to retention. The sample consisted of students who enrolled in this institution in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and the independent variables of interest were their ratings of their instructors (also known as student evaluations of teaching—SETs—and faculty evaluations). Overall ratings, as well as students’ perceptions of their instructors’ availability, presentation abilities, and their ability to generate interest in the course, were analyzed. Results indicate that students enrolled in highly-rated courses have enhanced odds of graduating within 6 years, that students with high GPAs benefit from being enrolled in classes with higher ratings, and that students’ total GPA is the strongest predictor of retention. Since faculty members are key determinants of students’ GPAs as well as of student ratings, implications for faculty development are offered.


faculty evaluations; student evaluations of teaching; retention