Document Type


Publication Date



The relationship between a teacher and student can be an important part of student success, especially for students of higher education. One factor that may influence student outcomes is the level of empathy a teacher may demonstrate toward a student. Empathy is an important part of interpersonal relationships as it promotes a feeling or understanding of another’s emotions through taking on a different perspective. Empathy can also produce a response leading to altruistic behavior. According to some theoretical models the prosocial characteristic of empathy contributes to the social emotional competence (SEC) of a teacher or instructor. The higher the SEC the more influence a teacher may have on a student’s development and potential outcomes. Although the SEC model has not yet been studied in higher education classrooms it could be an area of future research. To fill the research gap regarding empathy in higher education and its relationship with teacher-student relationships, an instrument for self measurement of empathy would be necessary. Currently there is no instrument that can measure empathy in the higher education instructor. Empirical measurement of empathy can lead to self-awareness and potential improvement in SEC. Measuring empathy can contribute to student outcomes research, assist with instructor self-awareness and training, and may lead to a better learning experience for the student, contributing to their success. The purpose of this research is to develop and validate an instrument to measure empathy in higher education instructors. Researchers will develop an empathy scale for higher education instructors using current validated empathy scales, conducting qualitative research, and performing a literature review. The higher education empathy scale will be distributed to higher education instructors and validated using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis.


This is a draft research proposal submitted to the Carpenter Library's Dean's Leadership Council Research Prize.

Rights Statement



Rights Statement

In Copyright