Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Caringella-MacDonald

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald Kramer

Third Advisor

Dr. Doug Davidson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Gwen Raaberg


Many studies have been done concerning the classroom climate, particularly in the university setting. It has been found that the classroom climate for women is one that is cold, unreceptive, unwelcoming, and even hostile to women. This chilly reception is endured by female undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors. This researcher believes that the chilly classroom climate also extends to female graduate teaching assistants/instructors. I also believe that this chilly climate may be chillier and more hostile for them, since graduate teaching assistants/instructors do not have the status associated with a doctoral degree. This concept is the basis for what I have covered in my investigation of the college classroom.

I utilized a triangulation of methods to explore the discrimination against female graduate teaching assistants/instructors within the classroom setting. My methods include unobtrusive observations, surveys, and consciousness-raising debriefings. What was found was that graduate teachers/instructors, whether female or male, experience a chilly/hostile classroom climate. However, female graduate teachers/ins true tors are more often than male graduate teachers/ instructors confronted with hostile student behavior. Additionally, it was found that females in general are more often than males devalued by their students. Further research is suggested concerning this topic.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access