Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community

Evaluating Teaching at KU

Introduction

High quality teaching and scholarship have long been recognized as the two hallmarks of a productive faculty member. Teaching is serious intellectual work that is grounded in deep knowledge and understanding of a field, and it includes the ability to convey that understanding in clear and engaging ways. The conduct of courses is the central feature of our teaching responsibilities at KU, and it has priority among the many kinds of teaching activities that take place. Our identification of teaching should not be limited to formal class performance, however, and a broader menu of teaching activities provides additional ways to demonstrate quality in teaching.

There is more to quality instruction than making one’s knowledge and understanding accessible to students; effective education successfully generates understanding, knowledge, and skills among students. People acquire more skill in teaching over time, and as in research, that success comes from thinking about the results of prior efforts and identifying ways to improve future results. Quality in teaching will include self-evaluation of how well students are learning and inquiry into how to improve learning in each class.

The measurement of any human activity is never perfect, whether it is teaching or research. The proposed guidelines offer a framework from which faculty can choose elements that may improve the measurement of teaching beyond current practices. It is intended to increase flexibility by offering many different ways that teachers can show their work and demonstrate what they are learning from its results.

It is not expected that any single faculty member would engage in all or even most of the activities listed below, but they should be recognized as part of teaching when they occur across the full duration of a teaching career.

Activities

1. How does this teacher conduct courses?

Evaluation in this area should focus on some or all of the following factors:

  • Clarity of course goals.
  • Relevance and appropriateness of course content.
  • Effectiveness of instruction in lecture, labs, discussion, studios, and other activities.
  • Appropriate relationship with students in which the instructor is available, challenges students, and supports their learning.
  • Measures of student learning.
  • Presentation of courses serving the mission of the unit or University.

A faculty member could provide various forms of evidence to indicate success in achieving these aims, such as:

  • Annotated syllabus.
  • Selection of course materials (readings, resources, demonstrations, grading standards, etc.).
  • Ratings and/or written comments from students.
  • Peer evaluation of classroom performance, interaction with students, and/or course materials.
  • Samples of student work demonstrating student learning.
  • Trend data showing the impact of the teacher on measures of learning.
  • List of courses taught and explanation of their importance.
  • Explanation of special service in particular courses, such as large lecture courses.
  • Teaching awards or nominations for teaching awards.
  • Other materials that the faculty member believes indicate excellence in teaching.

Faculty colleagues and or the department chair would evaluate the evidence provided by the faculty member to judge the degree to which he/she was attaining the aims cited above. Student perspectives of those properties of teaching they are in a good position to evaluate are reflected in “Ratings and/or written comments from students” shown above.

2. How does this teacher prepare for courses?

Evaluation in this area should focus on the following factors:

  • Appropriate preparation of new courses or efforts to improve instruction.
  • Continuing efforts to improve teaching.

A faculty member could provide various forms of evidence to indicate success in achieving these aims, such as:

  • Sample of course materials: learning activities, assignments, etc. for new or existing courses.
  • Plans for future course development; may include a journal or other reflections on teaching.
  • Examples of innovation in teaching including teaching practices, technology, etc.
  • Seminars attended or conducted on teaching; include description of new approaches learned from workshops or description of how ideas have been incorporated into teaching (annotated syllabus or other notes).
  • Student comments indicating changes in teaching, faculty observation supporting innovation based on workshops.
  • Examples of collaboration with faculty at KU or elsewhere to support teaching.
  • Examples of work with KU offices (KU Libraries, Writing Center, Learning Communities, etc.) to support teaching.
  • Publication(s) or other research on teaching.
  • Awards or nominations for research, teaching, or service related to improving teaching.
  • Other materials that the faculty member believes indicate excellence in teaching.

Faculty colleagues and or the department chair would evaluate the evidence provided by the faculty member to judge the degree to which he or she was attaining the aims cited above.

3. What teaching work has the faculty member done in addition to teaching courses?

Evaluation in this area should focus on some or all of the following factors:

  • Coordinating courses within a program, or developing a new course.
  • Supporting teaching at the unit level by developing new materials for general use; creating infrastructure for labs, studios, or field work; seeking grant support for teaching; recruiting students.
  • Mentoring and supervising GTAs/GRAs.
  • Mentoring and supervising students in clinical settings or internships.
  • Working with student groups.
  • Mentoring new faculty members in their role as a teacher.
  • Mentoring students or directing research projects.

A faculty member could provide various forms of evidence to indicate success in achieving these aims, such as:

  • List of administrative or coordination activities, along with new materials developed and commentary from colleagues and students involved.
  • Observations and comments by students, colleagues, chair, dean on unit level contributions.
  • External funding of proposals/awards related to teaching, reviews of proposals.
  • Lists of those mentored and supervised in various roles (undergraduate, graduate, post-docs; research, teaching, clinical work).
  • Unit records of GTAs/GRAs’ performance, comments from other students learning from graduate students, comments from community partners or clients.
  • Examples of student work completed under teacher’s supervision, along with descriptions of venues for presentation and any recognition.
  • Letters from students, reflecting on mentoring activities and effectiveness and indicating how the mentoring has influenced student work and success.
  • Faculty colleagues’ comments on mentoring activities; e.g., service on MA or MS/PhD committees.
  • Examples of any regional or national critical review or recognition of student work.
  • Time to degree, success in obtaining employment or other placement.
  • Lists of student groups supported, identifying unit or university level, along with student comments, awards or achievement by the group.
  • Lists of faculty colleagues mentored on teaching, with examples of feedback given or comments from colleagues about the impact of the shared work.

Faculty colleagues and/or the department chair would evaluate the evidence provided by the faculty member to judge the degree to which he/she was attaining the aims cited above.

4. Has this faculty member made contributions related to scholarship of teaching?

Evaluation in this area should focus on some or all of the following factors:

  • Teaching related presentations at KU or elsewhere.
  • Attending or organizing teaching institutes.
  • Serving as a guest teacher at other institutions, for outside associations, or in the community.
  • Developing course materials, such as textbooks or websites.
  • Applying for and receiving grants in support of teaching or publishing articles related to teaching.
  • Participating in outreach to local schools (K–12) or other forums.

A faculty member could provide various forms of evidence to indicate success in achieving these aims, such as:

  • Conference programs from presentations, letters, or other evaluations of quality of presentations; samples of presentation notes or published proceedings; programs from institutes or letters evaluating participation or impact.
  • List of service on department or University teaching committees or presentations at KU Summit or the Center for Teaching Excellence.
  • Letters attesting to impact of guest presentations in classes; formal evaluations if available.
  • Books, web addresses, or other materials generated, along with any letters attesting to the impact or quality of the materials.
  • Products developed for schools, feedback from organizers of presentations, statements from professional society or honors or awards for contributions.
  • Grant proposals, reviewer feedback on proposals, copies of articles submitted and published.

Faculty colleagues and/or the department chair would evaluate the evidence provided by the faculty member to judge the degree to which he/she was attaining the aims cited above.


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