2018 BENCHMARKS PARTICIPANT
School of Public Affairs and Administration
Faculty members in public affairs and administration say they generally receive favorable scores from student surveys of teaching. Those scores, however, provide little information on what instructors do well and where they need to improve. Nor do they provide inspiration for innovating teaching practices. The school’s Benchmarks team sees the rubric system as a way to fill that void by providing better documentation of teaching practices, creating an easier way for instructors to learn from each other, and offering a means for strengthening the school’s teaching culture. Team members said some faculty members expressed concern initially because they were feeling “evaluation fatigue,” as the school must go through evaluation from several outside accreditors. Once the team joined the Benchmark project, though, there has been general support.
Rather than adapting the rubric immediately, the faculty team from public affairs and administration decided to begin testing the rubric in its existing format. A faculty member who is submitting a tenure packet this year used the rubric to organize his teaching materials and reflect on his teaching. One colleague then used the rubric to provide feedback on those materials, and others will use it for a final evaluation this fall. The team will use this process to determine areas in the rubric to adapt. In addition, six instructors are using the rubric to reflect on their own teaching, and they, too, will provide feedback on how the rubric might be adapted. The team plans to present a revised rubric to the full faculty in Spring 2019.