School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Beth Ackerman

Primary Subject Area

Education, Administration; Education, Higher; Education, General


Distance education, Emotional Intelligence, Faculty Satisfaction, Online education, Online faculty, Workplace satisfaction


This study explored the role of expressed appreciation in an online education working environment. The research method used was a transcendental phenomenological approach in order to provide a foundational base for giving a voice to the participants' experiences in higher education, based on the participants' preferences for experiencing appreciation. Through assessments and interviews, this research intended to evaluate the role of appreciation in the workplace, namely higher education, and the relationships between online faculty members and their administration. Utilizing a newly created assessment tool, the Motivating by Appreciation Inventory, the act of appreciation was evaluated in terms of the Languages of Appreciation: verbal praise, acts of service, giving gifts, and quality time. The research also evaluated each participant's understanding and experience of appreciation in relation to the identified language of appreciation. The study was conducted with eight current online faculty members at a large Christian university in the Southeastern region of the United States. The following themes emerged throughout the data collection process: value of encouragement through words, significance of timely interactions, a desire to play an active role within the university, the need for administrator's support in decision making, intrinsic motivation, stimulation through student interactions, and the importance of monetary incentives.