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Student effort, student behavior, student perceptions, faculty credibility, faculty attire
Prior studies suggest that faculty members who are credible are more effective in the classroom in that they are evaluated more highly and their students achieve greater learning. This paper explores how the instructor’s attire impacts his or her perceived credibility, and how the students’ corresponding perception of instructor credibility impacts the students’ self-described behavior. Questionnaires depicting instructors of both genders each wearing three different outfits, including casual, business casual and professional attire, are used to assess business student opinions regarding the academician’s credibility and the students’ resultant effort and learning. The results indicate that faculty members can take comfort in that their level of preparation, knowledge and ability to prepare students for a career do impact their credibility in the eyes of the students, no matter their choice of attire. Instructor credibility, in turn, was found to have a significant positive relationship with all ten student effort and behavior variables that were examined. In particular, credibility had the most impact on the student’s preparation for each class, attentiveness, appreciation for instructor effort, and respect for the instructor. Positive significant relationships were also found between credibility and student evaluations of both the class and the instructor.