2018 BENCHMARKS PARTICIPANT
The Department of Philosophy had already been discussing ways to improve the evaluation of teaching before it joined the Benchmarks project. Faculty members wanted to move away from student surveys of teaching and adopt a system that would reduce bias in the evaluation system and reward instructors who were truly exceptional in helping students learn. They wanted a system that would provide high-quality evidence without burdening instructors and evaluators with unsustainable amounts of work. They also wanted a system that could scale with from a few instructors initially implementing the rubric to all instructors on the faculty but still be flexible enough to fairly evaluate instructors at different stages of their career.
The department has formed two teams for creating a new evaluation process. One has focused on adapting the Benchmarks rubric; the other has worked to identify appropriate evidence for each category in the rubric. One particular challenge has been identifying evidence of effective mentoring, especially because the expectations are vastly different between an early-career faculty member and an established, tenured professor. The department plans to de-emphasize peer classroom visits and instead rely on evaluation of instructors’ course materials, syllabi, and narratives of their teaching. It plans to test the new process in the fall as two faculty members go through review for promotion and tenure.