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Policy on the Evaluation of Pedagogical Practices (1998; Revised 2006)

Classroom teaching is central to the educational mission of the University. It is therefore essential that sufficient thought be given to evaluating its effectiveness and to maintaining scholarly rigor. Such evaluation should play a meaningful role in decisions regarding salary, promotion, and tenure. Just as the evaluation of scholarly and creative activity is best made through converging evidence of various kinds from multiple sources, depending on the particular discipline, teaching effectiveness is best evaluated by drawing on multiple sources and kinds of information.

In evaluating teaching performance, a department should use whatever methods of evaluation work best in the particular discipline. It is assumed, however, that a variety of methods will come into play. These methods may include: written course evaluations by students, peer reviews, efforts to update old and develop new courses, evidence of student success, and time and effort devoted to students both outside the classroom and in thesis and dissertation supervision.

Both departmental and College tenure and promotion committees should value each of multiple sources of information about teaching effectiveness in the classroom in arriving at their decisions. A written evaluation of teaching effectiveness should be included in tenure and promotion dossiers.

The College Policy Committee asks that departments include the following information in all tenure and promotion dossiers, and that they draw on similar kinds of information when evaluating performance for the purpose of salary increases:

  1. Departments should evaluate the teaching effectiveness of assistant and associate professors based on multiple peer observations of classroom teaching. Ideally, there should be several such observations and written evaluations over several courses and over several years to provide insight into the improvement and maintenance of quality teaching.
  2. Teaching dossiers should normally include sample syllabi, assignments, and exams. Tenure and promotion dossiers should also include a written evaluation of this evidence by the Department and its Chair.
  3. Student evaluations for all courses should be included in the record. It is recommended that each set of evaluations include some questions requiring discursive responses.

An annual evaluation of teaching should also be incorporated into the departmental process of determining salaries in order to ensure that excellent teaching is recognized and rewarded. Chairs should make clear to the Dean the means by which the department identifies and rewards meritorious teaching, and the Dean, in turn, should insist that teaching play a significant role in the determination of individual salaries.