Foreign and US-Educated Faculty Members’ Views on What Constitutes Excellent Teaching
Type of Degreedissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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This study aimed to identify key views of foreign-educated who teach in American universities on what constitutes excellence in teaching based on different demographics using online version of the Teacher Behavior Checklist (Buskist, Sikorski, Buckley & Saville, 2002). Faculty were asked to rank the top 10 of 28 teacher qualities for excellent teaching from their own perspectives. The survey was sent by email to 5238 faculty members from the 14 members of SREB institutions (Southern Regional Educational Board). The final faculty population consisted of 448 participants, of which 309 (69%) were US-educated and 139 (31%) were foreign educated with the majority from Asia and Europe. Results showed that both US- and foreign-educated faculty universally agreed on eight qualities as most important for excellent teaching, although in different order. These qualities/behaviors were: 1) knowledgeable about topic, 2) enthusiastic about teaching, 3) creative/interesting, 4) promotes critical thinking, 5) effective communicator, 6) approachable/personable, 7) encourages/cares for students, 8) manages class time/punctuality. “Confident” was ranked number (9) in many cases. “Knowledgeable” and “enthusiastic” were generally ranked number 1 and 2 top qualities. Demographic characteristics of faculty did not affect the selection of these eight qualities as most important to excellent teaching; however the order of some qualities was statistically significantly different between US- and foreign-educated faculty within the different demographic characteristics. Foreign-educated faculty tended to rank “confident,” “effective communicator,” and “encourages and cares” significantly higher than US-educated faculty within different demographics. US-educated faculty ranked “enthusiastic about teaching” significantly higher than foreign-educated faculty within different demographics. The findings of this study emphasize the importance of confidence and interpersonal skill to foreign-educated faculty which imply the need for greater support and specific developmental programs for this group, especially in their early career.