The purpose of the study was to identify characteristics of effective teachers and explore common philosophical beliefs about teaching and learning in faculty members recognized for their effective teaching. At Texas Tech University, the Teaching Academy members are considered to be outstanding teachers. Academy members admitted in 2012 and 2013 were asked to submit a written copy of their teaching philosophy. Fifteen professors chose to take part in the study and their teaching philosophies were analyzed to determine common themes. Six themes emerged from the teaching philosophies: engage students in learning, maintain student interest, get to know students, assess student knowledge, set high expectations for students and par¬ticipate in professional development. These participants were asked to participate in a one-on-one interview to discuss their ideas about effective teaching and to allow a researcher to observe them teaching a class. Three teachers consented to an interview and two teachers agreed to be observed. The data collected from the interviews and observations were compared to the themes from the teaching philosophies and supported those findings through triangulation of data. The information gained from this study can be used to identify areas of professional development that could be provided to increase teacher effectiveness.