Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Dr. Allan Allday


Dr. Wanda Maulding-Green, Dr. Peggy Delmas, and Dr. Shengua Zha


Nearly three-fourths of faculty at U.S. institutions of higher education (IHEs) are classified as non-tenure track faculty (NTTF), and more the 70% of higher education students had taken online courses following the move to emergency online instruction in 2019. Remote faculty relationships with leaders have been shown to play a vital role in faculty satisfaction and engagement with their work. This convergent parallel mixed-methods study was guided by the following research questions: Primary Research Question 1 (RQ1) - What is the relationship between faculty-leader relationship and work engagement when controlling for faculty classification (lead faculty, full-time faculty, or part-time faculty), reporting college, years in higher education, other jobs, gender, and identification of leader (who the faculty identifies as their leader)? Secondary Research Question 1 (SRQ1) - How do controlling variable (faculty classification, reporting college, years in higher education, other jobs gender, and identification of leader) impact the relationship between the faculty-leader relationship and work engagement level? Secondary research question 2 (SRQ2) - How do faculty perceive engagement with their work and faculty-leader relationship? An anonymous survey link was sent to all university faculty. The survey included demographic questions, the Leader-Member Exchange-7 (LMX-7) questionnaire, and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale-17 (UWES-17) questionnaire. Volunteer faculty responded, n=82.

The researcher utilized a multiple linear regression analysis to answer RQ1. The overall model fit was appropriate (p < .01), explained 37% of the variance and showed that total LMX scores significantly predicted UWES scores (p < .05). The other predictor variables were not found to have any significant effect on UWES. A moderation analysis was conducted to determine of gender moderates the relationship between LMX and UWES, which suggested a statistically significant interaction effect (p < .001) between LMX scores and participant gender. The moderation of gender on the relationship between LMX and UWES was significant for females but not for males. To answer SRQ2, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 faculty volunteers. Qualitative analysis suggested three overarching themes to the researcher: connection (related to faculty relationship, engagement, and collaboration with students, colleagues, leadership, and the institution), communication (relating to faculty member communication with leadership and institution, including manner, frequency, and topics), and structure (related to institutional heirarchy, lines of communication, and composition of the institution). As the employment of NTTF and online learning increase, it is imperative that higher education learder learn as much as possible about the impasct on faculty engagement for those faculty members who will be serving in remote positions. Future research should be considered to replicate the study with a larger sample size and multiple IHEs, and additional research is needed on the significance of gender in moderating the relationship between LMX and UWES.