A Formal Peer Observation of Teaching
UT System requires that faculty have official peer review of teaching. This is a formative exercise and follows best practices. The purpose of formative observations is to provide advice in order to help a practitioner improve. To be fully effective, formative evaluations should be confidential, and should remain the property of the instructor being observed. This allows an instructor the freedom to try new approaches and techniques, without fear of penalty, and the peer observer to be frank in their advice.
Who needs one?
For tenure track faculty:
- An official peer observation prior to their formal third year review.
- Another official peer observation before coming up for tenure and promotion to associate professor
For tenured faculty:
- An official peer observation within the two years prior to coming up for promotion to full.
You can find the forms and a list of certified peer teaching observers below.
How does it work?
The faculty member needing the observation contacts a peer—this person must hold an equal or higher rank than the faculty member–and arranges to have the observation. Your chair or program director may not do the official peer observation. We suggest you choose someone from the list of Certified Peer Observers but this is not required. The observer and faculty member meet prior to the class to be observed. They go over the course syllabus and discuss the course and arrange a time for the observation. Once the observation is done, the observer writes up their comments and sends them to the faculty member. The faculty member reads them and responds by writing a reflection in response to the comments. The observer reads the response and signs off on the reflection and the observation. Forms can be found below.
What documents goes into the promotion dossier?
Only the record of the observation with the signatures and the faculty response is included in the faculty members dossier. Remember it is a formative exercise and the observers comments are private. In your reflection, you can quote from the observer’s comments, if you wish. But it is only your reflection on those comments that is part of the evaluation or promotion dossier. Be sure to upload this form to your Digital Measures Faculty Profile so that it will pull into your annual activity report, 3rd year review, or promotion dossier.
Any informal peer evaluations that you upload to Digital Measures will be included in the promotion dossier. This however is not required.
Where can I find a copy of the official policy?
A copy of the policy can be found here in the HOP.
The above information is what you need to know for the required Official Peer Teaching Observations, however we recommend that faculty periodically ask peers to informally observe them. This is always helpful. You can upload the informal evaluations to your Digital Measures profile as well.
Peer Observation Forms
Pre-Observation Meeting (face-to-face course)
Pre-Observation Meeting (online course)
Syllabus Review (all courses)
Peer Observer Report (face-to-face course)
Peer Observer Report (online course)
Peer Observer Report v. 2.0 (online course)
Online Peer Observation Email Template
Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response Form (all courses)