Currently the university draws on the process created and designed by the UT System for conducting peer review of teaching. This is more of a summative process for tenure and promotion considerations, as per the policies. Some suggestions below provide a rationale for including further resources and support for this process and also for expanding the peer review process beyond what the UT System requires for more formative and ongoing peer review.
- The formal peer review process resources currently in the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning Excellence website provide excellent resources for peer review of teaching, but additional resources can be added. Additional web-based/digital training resources to supplement what is already available might include videos and other web-based resources for training for those faculty who cannot attend on-campus trainings.
- Full-time faculty who have received low scores on the end of course student evaluations surveys can be assigned a faculty mentor to conduct more frequent peer reviews. The mentor can work with the faculty member to co-design effective strategies and draw on the scholarship of teaching and learning to improve practice.
- Full time faculty who have exceptional course student evaluations can be used as role models and a source of best practices. UTA has a unique educational environment, so drawing on local expertise may be more effective than trying to adapt strategies from other institutions.
- A comprehensive peer review process can incorporate peer assessments, self-assessments, and student evaluations to provide a comprehensive view of instructor effectiveness. A richer understanding of an effective teaching environment can be developed by an understanding the perceptions of multiple stakeholders.
- An extension of the peer review process may include doctoral candidates and post docs who are interested in academic careers. UTA can provide a valuable educational experience to future academics by providing them opportunities to participate in and contribute to the peer review process.
Informal Peer Classroom Observation:
An excellent way to gain insight into your teaching is to observe a colleague or have a colleague observe you. Whether you someone from your department, or a colleague from another department observes you, peer observation is useful as a teaching enrichment activity even if you do not have any particular areas of concern. Your analysis of a class you are observing or a colleague’s analysis of your teaching, helps you to identify the key components relevant to your teaching, and finally being able to reflect on how to translate those observed components into your pedagogical practice.
The following forms can be used for this unofficial classroom observation. The first form is an optional and can be used for multiple purposes in preparing a peer reviewer prior to the in-class review. First, it can be used to frame your, or your discipline’s, approach to the course topic and pedagogy so that the peer reviewer is better informed regarding your pedagogical decisions by providing them with some context for their review. Second, it can be used to simply provide the peer reviewer with any information you feel would be helpful before the class session.
The second form, Peer Review of Course Instruction, is designed to guide your observation and evaluation of a peer’s class. This form is designed to note teaching strengths as well as provide suggestions for pedagogical improvement, and whenever possible, as a supplement to evaluative comments. This form is not meant to be used as a checklist to observe and evaluate, rather it should generally frame the evaluation and serve as a starting point for identifying appropriate areas to address given the discipline, instructor teaching style and individual class session goals. The areas of focus listed in the form are not limited or exhaustive—feel free to comment on additional relevant components not included here. The form also includes sections for the faculty member to provide remarks in response to the reviewer’s comments. Please note that the peer review recommended here is not intended to supersede the process created and designed by the UT System for conducting peer review of teaching. To download a copy of the peer-review assessment forms, click on the following links:
Form 1: Pre-Peer Review Form (pdf)*
Form 2: Peer Course Evaluation Form (pdf)*
* For access to this document, please contact CRTLE at email@example.com
Classroom visits by the Academy of Distinguished Teachers:
The Leadership Committee of UT Arlington’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers would like to invite members of the academic community to participate in the “Class Visit Program.” Members of the UT Arlington Community may participate in this program in two ways.
- You may ask to visit a class taught by an Academy member. Several Academy members have agreed to allow one or two people to sit in on a course. Visitors will be invited to observe what happens during class time, take notes, and then (optionally) confer with their host to discuss what transpired.
- Members of the Academy will visit your class and offer feedback. Several Academy members have agreed to serve as classroom observers, sitting in on your course, taking notes, and then providing feedback. These visits are intended solely to provide constructive advice for those who seeking to improve their pedagogy and are not intended to serve as assessments of teaching for other purposes. Unless specifically you specially ask to have your observer share any information with a third party (e.g., your department chair), all interaction between you and the observer will be treated as confidential (to the extent permitted by law).
To place a request to visit a class taught by an Academy Member, or to ask that a member of the Academy come to your class to observe, you may do so at the Academy of Distinguished Teachers homepage at http://www.uta.edu/academy/class-visit/request.php.
How are peer evaluations valuable? Faculty receive immediate feedback from a peer about what they are doing well and what they should focus on to improve. Peer evaluation should be viewed as critical and positive input that is used well before possible problems arise and to facilitate and support positive classroom practices and student success.