This study investigated the characteristics of effective university instructors as perceived by 547 students. The students came from institutions in two different countries, Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman and Suleyman Demirel University in Turkey. They were asked to indicate the personality and the teaching characteristics they felt were essential qualities of an effective university instructor. The students' responses were also assessed based on gender, year of study, and grade point average (GPA). According to the findings, an effective university instructor respects students as people, recognizes their identity, listens to their concerns and challenges, and is someone students can depend on for support when needed. With regard to teaching characteristics, an effective instructor is the one who treats students equally, builds their confidence, comes prepared for the lesson, and is clear and easy to be understood. Female students placed more value on personality characteristics. In addition, freshmen students were more concerned about optimizing the learning environment by having effective instructors who possess effective personality and teaching characteristics. There were no significant differences between students based on GPA. Finally, the Omani students rated both the personality and teaching characteristics more highly than the Turkish students.