2018 BENCHMARKS PARTICIPANT
Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Molecular Biosciences
The biology departments plan to create an evaluation process that better reflects the pedagogy instructors have adopted over the past few years. Introductory biology courses have been revamped, focusing on active learning techniques that have been shown to improve student learning, but evaluations still reflect a lecture-heavy approach. Instructors are also concerned about biases in student evaluations and the lack of constructive feedback in hastily done peer evaluations.
Biology instructors involved in the Benchmarks project have used the rubric to discuss elements of effective teaching with colleagues. They have used the rubric to identify evidence of teaching effectiveness for pre-tenured faculty, assistant teaching professors, and faculty members going through post-tenure review. An undergraduate student has been hired to visit classes and record activities and interactions, a process known as COPUS. The departments have also been testing the rubric as a tool for peer evaluation, with plans for two evaluators to visit classes at least twice and then meet to coordinate written evaluations.