Evidence-based teaching seems like the new buzzword in higher education. The phrase appears to mean that we’ve identified and should be using those instructional practices shown empirically to enhance learning. Sounds pretty straightforward, but there are lots of questions that haven’t yet been addressed, such as: How much evidence does there need to be to justify a particular strategy, action, or approach? Is one study enough? What about when the evidence is mixed—in some studies the results of a practice are positive and in others they aren’t? In research conducted in classrooms, instructional strategies aren’t used in isolation; they are done in combination with other things. Does that grouping influence how individual strategies function?
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Two concerns are often raised when department chairs attempt to address breaches of collegiality through the faculty evaluation process. The first is whether they’re permitted to do so at all, since very few faculty handbooks list collegiality as a criterion for reviews. The second is whether evaluation is an effective means of dealing with these challenges, since collegiality is often regarded as something highly subjective and not measurable or verifiable in any consistent way. The first of these concerns can be dealt with rather quickly, while the second will require a much more extended discussion.
Department chairs and deans face many challenges in their roles. One of the most difficult is the evaluation of faculty regarding teaching effectiveness. This is particularly challenging for two reasons: (1) lack of formal preparation for instructors concerning teaching, and (2) limited choice of evaluation tools. One tool, classroom observation, can help address both of these issues and provide an objective measure of teaching effectiveness.
If evaluation sounds good in theory but feels bad in practice, it may be that you or others are operating under some common misconceptions.
Hiring, promotion, and tenure activities are full of risk and potential landmines. Poor hiring decisions are not only costly, but the hiring process itself opens the institution up to litigation if everyone on the hiring committee is not trained properly.
At most places now, students are given the opportunity to evaluate instructors at the end of each class. Along with standardized items, students are invited to offer open-ended narrative comments on the course and instructor. Sometimes the comments are nice; sometimes negative but constructive; sometimes negative and destructive.
At a workshop on learner-centered teaching, a participant told us that philosophically she couldn’t agree more with the need to make students more responsible for their own learning, but she couldn’t go there because her ratings would take a hit. I assumed this meant she was a new faculty member and under scrutiny for tenure. […]