Evaluating Teaching Excellence Toolkit

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Faculty members at DU strive for ongoing teaching excellence and at DU we value the Teacher-Scholar model. In our efforts towards ongoing development of teaching excellence, we have provided resources and guidelines for evaluating teaching.

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What is good teaching?

It is important to start with some assumptions about teaching. There is no one definition of good teaching, and good teaching comes in an array of forms. However, there is quite a bit of literature about what constitutes teaching effectiveness, in areas such as how people learn, course design, teaching methods, facilitation skills, classroom climate, educational technology, inclusive excellence, learning assessment, etc.

We know that, much like research, teaching performance is an art and skill in continual improvement and development. It is important that at DU we provide a culture where all faculty members are encouraged to continually reflect and continuously improve their teaching practice.

Evaluating Teaching

**At DU, many units are exploring more balanced approaches to evaluating teaching. Visit our Teaching Excellence Portfolio for a brief overview of some of these DU examples.**

Although there are varying opinions and research around Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs)/Student Ratings of Instruction (SRIs), most people agree that they should not be used as the sole basis of evaluating someone’s teaching performance and effort. At DU, the 2005 Teaching Task Force, the 2011 Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Initiative, and the 2012 Renew DU Faculty Development Initiative have all recommended using multiple sources of evidence and effort when conducting annual reviews and reviews for promotion and tenure.

Evidence from Students

Although student end-of-course rating forms should not be used as the sole basis of someone’s teaching performance, students can and should provide essential feedback on teaching. The resources below can help in the effective use of student rating forms. In addition, other forms of student feedback – midterm formative feedback, student letters, student learning as shown in coursework and assignments (not grades) – can provide additional evidence of teaching performance.

Evidence from Peers/Chairs

Colleagues and often provide feedback about teaching in areas such as: appropriateness of course materials and methods, and breadth and depth and relevance of content and course structure. Samples of teaching materials, syllabi, and samples of student work can be reviewed along with classroom observations.

Evidence from the Instructor

As teaching is an ongoing developmental activity, the instructor’s reflection and self-assessment of teaching is valuable not only as a source of evidence, but as a tool for continuous improvement.

Additional Resources

 

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