Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Wallace E. Dixon Jr.

Committee Members

Ginette C. Blackhart, Andrea D. Clements, Diana M. Morelen


Many studies have noted the detrimental impact adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have on individuals’ developmental trajectories and, as a result, the utilization of trauma-informed practices has been of increasing interest within the field of education. Most research on trauma-informed pedagogy is derived from samples of children in grades K-12, whereas research on trauma-informed teaching practices within higher education is comparatively scarce. The specific aims of the current investigation are two-fold. The first aim is to explore the effect of postsecondary instructors’ disciplinary specialization (i.e., person-thing orientation) on their receptivity to compassionate teaching practices. The second aim is to implement a brief (i.e., one hour, single session), asynchronous intervention to inform instructors about ACEs, subsequent effects on learning, and evidence-based, trauma-informed teaching practices. Results indicated that participants’ thing-orientation scores negatively predicted their post-intervention receptivity scores and that there was a significant increase in knowledge about compassionate teaching practices from pre-assessment to post-assessment. Future studies should seek to replicate these findings and continue to identify factors that may influence one’s receptivity to compassionate teaching practices.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.