Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Chantal Levesque-Bristol

Committee Member 1

Michael Yough

Committee Member 2

Eric Deemer

Committee Member 3

Elizabeth Hoffmann

Committee Member 4

Johnmarshall Reeve


This dissertation project highlights some positive news about college students who have chosen to become teachers, also known as preservice teachers. Two studies were conducted: one that examined the students’ open-ended answers to the direct question of why they want to become teachers; the other that examined the preservice teachers’ motivations overall, in the context of becoming a teacher, and in the situation of their education coursework. The findings in both studies suggest that students are choosing teaching for positive reasons including for the social utility value of the profession and their intrinsic interest in teaching. In addition, when examining the mediation between global motivation and situational motivation, social utility value, as a contextual variable, was most effective in carrying the effect from global to situational motivation. The other positive news is that among this sample of preservice teachers, there was minimal endorsement of negative reasons for teaching, including choosing teaching as a fallback career and choosing teaching at the suggestion of others.