Perceptions matter: Faculty caring, campus racial climate and academic performance

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Journal of Advanced Nursing


Aim: Examine the influence of students' perception of faculty caring on academic performance and the moderating role of students' perceptions of campus racial climate. Background: There is limited knowledge on how students' perceptions of faculty caring, campus racial climate and academic performance are linked. Understanding this nexus is crucial to improving nursing education. Design: Secondary analysis of a cross-sectional data obtained from seven undergraduate nursing programs in Texas, USA. Method: Data were from 385 students enrolled in Medical-Surgical 1 over three semesters (March 2010 - December 2010). Six sets of factor analytic scores derived from 31 original perceptions of faculty caring items served as predictors; one set of scores derived from seven original perceptions of campus racial climate items served as moderating variable in a regression model. Numeric grade was the outcome variable. Results/findings: Perception of faculty having a positive outlook/compassion had an enhancing effect on performance. As students' perceptions of campus racial climate became increasingly discriminating, the positive association between perceptions of faculty's trust in students' judgment and academic performance became increasingly strong. Conclusion: Results highlight ways by which students' perception of micro-level social reality (dyadic interaction) might interact with their perception of meso-level social reality (social environment) to influence their academic performance.

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