This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring Higher Education Classroom Immediacy: Effects of Gender and Teaching Experience




Wolfe, Kari

Type of Degree



Communication and Journalism


The purpose of this study was to investigate teacher immediacy behaviors in the college classroom and the effectiveness of verbal versus nonverbal behaviors in relation to gender and teaching experience. Three-hundred eleven students participated rating various teachers of graduate teaching assistants, instructors, and tenured or tenure-track professors’ immediacy skills used in the college classroom. Results from a MANOVA showed that GTAs and instructors were rated as more nonverbally immediate, while tenured or tenure-track professors were rated are more verbally immediate. An ANOVA showed no correlation between gender and nonverbal immediacy, but resulted in a correlation between verbal immediacy and males. Drawing on impression management and facework theories, results indicate that GTAs might have to work harder to promote positive face and save face of students in class where as they likely might not have to work as hard to connect to students on a relational and emotional level.