Teaching evaluations

Dean's Office contact: Divisional Dean

The University Handbook requires that departmental recommendations for merit salary increase, promotion, tenure, and reappointment include documentation of teaching effectiveness in two forms: student evaluation and collegial evaluation. Without such documentation, the College Council, Dean, and Provost will be unable to recommend a salary increase, promotion, tenure, or reappointment.

Student evaluation of teaching. According to the Handbook, each faculty member must have at least one student course evaluation done every year in which he/she teaches a course. Student assessments of teaching normally use the standardized forms provided by the Educational Assessment Center. A department may adopt an alternate procedure for formal student evaluations, using their own forms in place of the standardized forms.

Collegial evaluation of teaching. Collegial evaluation of teaching must be conducted every year for Assistant Professors and Lecturers and at least every three years for Associate Professors, Professors, Senior Lecturers, and Principal Lecturers. The College requires collegial evaluations for the reappointment or promotion of Lecturers, Artists, and other instructional titles.

Collegial evaluations serve two purposes. One is to produce positive benefits for the individual faculty member and for the unit by identifying the individual's particular teaching contributions, by sharing teaching knowledge among colleagues, and by the improvement of teaching. The second is to provide material for evaluation in merit, reappointment, and promotion/tenure reviews. While student ratings provide useful data on success in communicating with a class, collegial evaluations allow a focus on course content as perceived by peers and can describe the unique expertise, types of instruction, courses, or other activities which the individual contributes to the unit's curriculum or teaching program as a whole. Self-evaluation by the individual faculty member is encouraged as a helpful component in this process.

The diversity of College programs makes it difficult to specify any particular method of collegial evaluation. A unit, however, should use the same method(s) for all evaluations so that uniform standards are applied. The chair should not have sole responsibility for conducting the evaluation, and evaluators need not all be senior faculty. Active participation by the individual being evaluated is encouraged. Appropriate methods might include collegial review of one or more of the following: teaching materials, student evaluations, classroom performance, and student performance. The last may be particularly appropriate in the studio and performing arts. A useful reference is the booklet "Evaluating Teaching," available from the Center for Instructional Development and Research.

For promotion and tenure recommendations, there should be a thoughtful report from a faculty committee. For merit salary and reappointment evaluations, a few sentences are appropriate. In no case, however, is it sufficient simply to note that the faculty member is a "good" teacher or to provide materials or data without analysis. The method(s) of collegial evaluation, the names of the evaluators, and the results must be reported.