The USA has served as a beacon of hope for thousands of foreign students and academics with its diverse and superior opportunities created by a system of meritocracy unparalleled in the world. In keeping with other industries, academia is increasingly becoming a global village and foreign-born professors constitute a large proportion of university faculties. As higher education is increasingly accessible to students with varying levels of academic preparedness, faculties have become more aware of the importance of the opinions of students - the system's consumers - on teaching. Bearing in mind the 'similarity-attraction paradigm', this study sought to examine whether teaching evaluations are affected by cultural similarity or difference between students and instructors. Our data are based on teaching ratings from the largest Israeli public college. The analysis relates to 42,874 teaching ratings of 768 instructors, of whom 602 are Israeli-born and 166 are immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU). The findings indicate that FSU immigrant students awarded higher evaluations to FSU immigrant faculty members than their native-born peers. Similarly, Israeli-born students awarded higher evaluations to Israeli-born faculty than the FSU immigrant students. We conclude by discussing the educational and managerial implications of these findings for higher education institutions with ethnically diverse faculty and students.
- cultural background
- foreign-born faculty
- immigrant students
- similarity-attraction paradigm
- teaching evaluation
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