Policy 6-710

  1. Title

    Subchapter ADM 6-710 Faculty Peer Review of Teaching

  2. Policy


    1. Preamble

      Effective teaching is the core of any outstanding university and is essential at every institution in The University of Texas System. At UT Arlington teaching is considered equally important to research, and the University invests significant resources in rewarding outstanding teaching. The University has a center, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, which supports effective teaching, and many departments work collegially to improve and augment the development of teaching within specific programs. Furthermore, effective teaching, as inferred through student feedback and documented through peer review, is a requirement for the promotion and/or tenure of every Faculty Member.

      Recognizing that even the best Faculty Members can benefit from constructive feedback, the University requires peer review as a mechanism for providing meaningful feedback and fostering continual improvement, not only for purposes of tenure and promotion, but also as a best practice for professional development.

      In accordance with a model policy issued by The University ofTexas Faculty Advisory Council on January 24, 2014 ("FAC Model Policy"), the teaching of all full-time faculty seeking tenure and promotion shall be peer reviewed, and all promotion and/or tenure dossiers sent to UT System shall show evidence of peer review of teaching.
    2. Faculty Peer Review of Teaching
      1. Fundamentals of the Review Process

        (See Section III for definitions applicable for the purposes of this policy.)

        Basic Institutional Requirements

        Each department or college shall conduct peer reviews of teaching of all faculty seeking tenure and/or promotion.

        1. The review may not be waived.
        2. The review may be conducted during any session of the academic year (September 1 - August 31) as chosen by the Faculty Member to be observed.
        3. The review for Faculty Members seeking promotion to Full Professor shall be conducted no earlier than two years prior to the date on which the Faculty Member submits his or her dossier for promotion.
        4. The review should be conducted in a class officially designated as lecture or seminar in any delivery format (face-to-face, hybrid [or web supported classroom], online) as chosen by the Faculty Member to be observed. Faculty who do not routinely teach in a lecture or seminar format may choose to be observed in another format as approved by the faculty member's immediate supervisor.
        5. The review must be conducted using approved templates developed by an elected committee of peer faculty for the Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response, the Peer Observer Report, and assessment forms. The forms are available from the Division of Faculty Affairs.
      2. Review Policy
        1. Departmental or Unit Policy

          A written policy for faculty peer review of teaching shall be established by the faculty in each college or school, subject to the approval of the dean and the provost. Each unit's policy shall be consistent with institutional policy described immediately above. In addition, each unit's policy shall:

          1. establish discipline-appropriate standards for assessing the teaching performance of each tenure- track or tenured Faculty Member seeking promotion within the college or school;

          2. include the use of forms approved by the faculty and dean of the college or school;

          3. state that class visits will only occur with prior consultation with the Faculty Member being observed;

          4. allow for a variety of teaching methods or approaches;

          5. reflect the variety of instructional delivery methods and topics within each department or unit;

          6. be made available, together with the appropriate forms, to each Faculty Member in the college or school.

        2. Frequency of Observation

          1. Assistant Professors shall be observed at least once before the third year review, and at least once more before being considered for tenure and promotion. Associate Professors shall be reviewed at least once prior to seeking promotion to Professor.
          2. All faculty members (as defined above)who are neither tenured nor tenure-track faculty shall be reviewed at least once every five years as determined by policies established by each school or college.
          3. Individuals may also request more frequent observation to the extent that this can be accommodated by the department or unit. Individuals may also request more frequent observation through the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence ("CTLE").
        3. Peer Observer Training

          A Peer Observer shall at a minimum receive detailed guidance about peer review, the peer review procedure, and the opportunity for training. The University strongly recommends that Peer Observers take part in training and become Certified CTLE Peer Observers.

      3. Review Materials

        For the academic year in which the Faculty Member submits his or her dossier for promotion and/or tenure, he or she will include all Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response forms completed during the probationary period (for cases of tenure) or the previous two years (or cases of promotion to Professor).

        The Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response form shall include:

        1. the pre-observation meeting date, time, and location;
        2. the course observed (prefix, number, and title), date, time, and location;
        3. the post observation meeting date, time, and location;
        4. signatures of both Faculty Member and Peer Observer;
        5. a narrative in which the Faculty Member:

          1. explains in what ways the process was helpful (or otherwise); and
          2. indicates any steps taken or changes made towards the enhancement of teaching and/or improvement of student learning, on the basis of the observation process.

          The Peer Observer shall complete a college or school approved Peer Observer Report.

      4. Review Procedure
        While each academic unit may establish its own procedural guidelines for faculty peer review of teaching, all processes shall conform to the following common standards.

        1. Initial assessment of each Faculty Member's performance in teaching shall be carried out in accordance with the written policies established by the Faculty Member's department (or equivalent unit), as approved by the dean and provost. In all cases, the Peer Observer responsible for conducting the review shall:

          1. set up a pre-observation meeting, a class observation, and a post-observation meeting with the Faculty Member;
          2. complete a Peer Observer Report and make it available to the Faculty Member within fourteen calendar days of the in-class observation; and
          3. acknowledge completion of the Peer Observation Process by signing the Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response form within fourteen calendar days of the in-class observation.
        2. The Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response form should be provided to the department chair or unit head or equivalent (or to the dean in the event the Faculty Member being observed is the department chair) no later than the last day of classes for the semester in which the observation takes place, or the date by which the tenure and/or promotion dossier must be complete. The department chair, unit head or equivalent, or dean will file the report with the Faculty Member's record.
      5. The recommended timeline is as follows:
        1. No later than the third week of a semester, the Faculty Member and his or her immediate supervisor shall identify the Peer Observer.
        2. No later than the fifth week of the semester, the Faculty Member and Peer Observer shall meet to discuss teaching materials and set a date for the observation.
        3. No later than the twelfth week of the semester, the peer observation shall take place.
        4. Within fourteen calendar days of the observation, the Faculty Member and the Peer Observer shall hold the post-observation meeting.
        5. No later than the last day of class, the Faculty Member shall provide the Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response form to his or her immediate supervisor.
        For observations taking place during summer sessions, an analogous timeline shall be followed.
      6. Uses of the Review Results
        1. The Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response form shall be included in the Faculty Member's tenure and/or promotion dossier as evidence of having undergone the review process.
        2. The Peer Observer Report is given to the Faculty Member only and is not included in the Faculty Member's file.
    3. Recognition of Time and Effort Involved in Peer Observation Process

      The peer observation process involves significant time and effort on the part of the Peer Observer. This important service contribution should be recognized and reflected in the annual review of the Peer Observer.

    4. Implementation

      The Faculty Peer Review of Teaching described in the immediately preceding sections shall be implemented beginning no later than September 1, 2014 such that any faculty member being considered for Promotion and/or Tenure beginning in Academic Year 2015-16 will include at least one "Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response" in his or her dossier.

    5. Notification

      No formal notification of this process is required. Each Faculty Member is responsible for ensuring that his or her dossier for promotion and/or tenure includes the required minimum number of reports.

    6. Oversight

      This policy will be reviewed every five years after initial implementation by UT Arlington's chief academic officer in consultation with the Faculty Senate's Executive Committee.

    7. Intent

      Nothing in this policy shall be interpreted or applied to infringe on the tenure or system, academic freedom, due process or other protected rights, nor to establish new term-tenure systems or to require faculty to reestablish their credentials for tenure.

  3. Definitions

    For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

    Faculty Member: All full-time faculty. This Policy also applies to individual Faculty Members who hold administrative appointments of 50% or less.

    Peer Observer: A person who has a primary appointment in the college or school of the Faculty Member being reviewed. The Peer Observer is of equal or higher rank than the Faculty Member being reviewed. The Faculty Member's immediate supervisor, in conjunction with the chair of the unit's Advisory Committee Tenure and Promotion (ACTP), and in agreement with the Faculty Member, chooses the Peer Observer. The immediate supervisor may not serve as the Peer Observer. If a Peer Observer in one's own department is not available or appropriate for the observation, the immediate supervisor can extend a request to a person of equal or higher rank in a related department, again in agreement with the Faculty Member. The Faculty Member being observed should have considerable input into who will serve as his or her Peer Observer. Observations by non-faculty experts cannot substitute for those by Peer Observers.

    Peer Observation Process: a four-step process consisting of a pre-observation meeting, a class observation, a post-observation meeting, and a reporting procedure, to include a written "Peer Observer Report" and a written "Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response."

    Peer Observer Report: a written report given by the Peer Observer to the Faculty Member. In accordance with the FAC Model Policy, the Peer Observer Report shall not be included in the Faculty Member's personnel file nor in any tenure and promotion dossier.

    Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response: a report, described below in this Policy, written by the Faculty Member whose teaching is being observed. This document is included in the faculty member's personnel file and should be included in any promotion and tenure dossier.

    Forms: templates, developed by an elected committee of peer faculty, for the Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response and the Peer Observer Report, including assessment forms, available from the Division of Faculty Affairs.

    Department or Unit Faculty: For purposes of this Policy, department faculty includes full-time voting members of the department or unit.

  4. Relevant Federal and State Statutes

    N/A

  5. Relevant UT System Policies, Procedures and Forms

    University of Texas Faculty Advisory Council Model Policy

    Record of Peer Review and Faculty Response

    Peer Observer Report
  6. Who Should Know

    All faculty.

  7. UT Arlington Office(s) Responsible for Policy

    N/A

  8. Dates Approved or Amended

    August 5, 2014

  9. Contact Information

    All questions concerning this Policy should be directed to Provost and Chief Academic Officer.