Peer Review of Teaching Guidelines


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The following guidelines were developed as part of an on-going Peer Review of Teaching (PRT) Initiative at UBC which aims to improve and clarify the processes that underlie peer review of teaching. This initiative will allow UBC Science to emphasize the importance of good teaching in leading to the success of undergraduate and graduate programs.

In addition, this initiative will allow the teaching review process to be transparent, objective and fair for all faculty members when they undergo review prior to reappointment, promotion and tenure. It will also enable the Faculty to provide the Senior Appointments Committee with clear and rigorous assessments of teaching performance of faculty members. PRT can also foster a network of instructors within each department that welcome the discussion of teaching related issues.

Goals

Peer review of teaching serves two fundamental purposes:

  1. Summative evaluation is required as part of the collection of evidence for career advancement. This evaluation provides evidence of the overall impact of a faculty member’s teaching for reviews such as reappointment, promotion and tenure.
  2. Formative or mentoring reviews can provide constructive feedback to faculty members to facilitate the development and improvement of a faculty member’s teaching skills.

Definitions

The Summative Assessment of Teaching is the summary document prepared for promotion and tenure. It includes highlights from a recent summative peer evaluation of teaching report.

A Summative Peer Evaluation of Teaching is the result of a team of assessors evaluating a candidate's teaching at a particular time. The scope of this evaluation and the contribution of the assessors to the Summative Assessment will differ between departments.

Overview

Guidelines have been developed that incorporate best practices from across UBC Science. These general guidelines are provided to assist each department in implementing peer review of teaching as a component of the required summative assessment to fulfill the expectations of the Senior Appointments Committee (SAC) (outlined in Appendix 2 of the SAC guidelines) and the Dean's Advisory Committee on Promotion and Tenure (DACOPAT).

Faculty of Science Guidelines

Frequency and Timing of Peer Review

Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Teaching

Formal summative peer evaluation for reappointment, promotion and/or tenure is required by the Agreement on Conditions of Appointment for Faculty. Formative peer evaluations or mentoring reviews of teaching are highly recommended on an annual basis by the teaching committee or by the faculty member's mentors or mentoring committee. Prescribed schedules for summative peer evaluation and suggested mentoring reviews are given below:

Assistant Professor
Years 1-3 Year 4 Year 5-7
  Reappointment Review
Mentoring review Summative Peer Evaluation for reappointment Summative Peer Evaluation for promotion and tenure
Assistant Professor of Teaching
Years 1-2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
  Reappointment   Review
Mentoring review Summative Peer Evaluation for reappointment Mentoring review Summative Peer Evaluation for promotion and tenure

Associate Professor and Associate Professor of Teaching

At least one mentoring review evaluation is recommended for faculty in this rank before being formally reviewed for promotion (and/or tenure in the case of a term appointment). The formal teaching evaluation for promotion (and/or tenure) must include information from a teaching term within 20 months of the proposed promotion date (that is no later than Fall 2018 for promotion in July 2020). In order for Peer Teaching Reviews to be available for review for promotion, faculty should inform their Heads that they are considering requesting review for promotion in sufficient time for the Peer Teaching Reviews to be organized. Having the Peer Teaching Review does not bind the faculty member to requesting review, they can make that final decision during the summer prior to the file being submitted.

Professor

For term appointments in this rank, at least one mentoring review is recommended before being formally reviewed for tenure. The formal teaching evaluation for tenure must include information for the current or most recent teaching term. The UBCV Peer Review Working Group recommends that all Full Professors undergo peer review every 5 years.

Sessional and Lecturers

Although sessionals are not reviewed for tenure or promotion, where possible regular formative evaluations/mentoring reviews are recommended. Peer review for continuing lecturers is recommended prior to reappointment.

Additional Peer Review

Regardless of rank, when a faculty member’s teaching evaluations fall below the expected standard for the faculty and department, peer-mentoring visits will be arranged. The purpose of this formative or mentoring review is to help the faculty improve their teaching skills and approaches in a supportive and constructive manner with the aim to improving student education and learning outcomes.

For all instructors whose interpolated median on Question 6 (Effectiveness of Teaching) falls below 3.0 once or falls to or below 3.55 for three consecutive years:

  • A letter is sent to the Head of Department informing them of this evaluation
  • The Head is required to initiate a program of formative/mentoring review of teaching in the subsequent year. This includes:
    • classroom visits and review of teaching methods by a committee of peers
    • generation of a formative/mentoring teaching report to be discussed with the instructor either by the Head or the peer reviewers in an informal meeting
    • suggested professional development through workshops available through CTLT or similar programs
  • the Head will then provide a letter to the Dean outlining the specifics of the measures taken

For all instructors whose interpolated median on Question 6 (Effectiveness of Teaching) falls above 3.0 and to or below 3.55:

  • a letter is sent to the Head of Department informing them of this evaluation
  • the Head will consider this evaluation within the context of the course as specific courses have historically had lower evaluations regardless of the instructor
  • it is suggested that the Head initiate a program of formative/mentoring review of teaching for all faculty who will teach in subsequent years. This includes:
    • classroom visits and review of teaching by a committee of peers
    • discussions with the instructor on teaching performance as reviewed by peers
    • suggested professional development through workshops available through CTLT

Additional peer evaluations may be scheduled at the request of the faculty member.

Committee Options for Peer Evaluation of Teaching

Summative Review for Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure

Option 1 (Recommended): Standing Teaching Peer Review Committee

A standing Committee is responsible for organizing all peer reviews in the unit and reports to the Head and/or Promotion and Tenure Review Committee in preparation for considering faculty members for reappointment, tenure, and/or promotion. The Teaching Peer Review Committee, the Promotion and Tenure Review Committee or the Head can write the Summative Assessment of Teaching.

Option 2: Ad Hoc Committee

An ad hoc review committee is struck to consider a faculty member for reappointment, tenure and/or promotion. This committee is responsible for organizing the peer review of teaching. This committee or the Head can write the Summative Assessment of Teaching.

For summative peer evaluation of teaching, assigned peer reviewers should be of the same or higher rank as the faculty member being evaluated. The teaching review committee should consist of a minimum of three evaluators who have the necessary expertise relevant to the evaluation of the disciplinary content and teaching. At a minimum, one of the reviewers should be considered "arm’s length" to the candidate and external to the unit or group within the department.

The department may wish to designate specific faculty members as peer review specialists to undergo specific training to help conduct the peer review of teaching (please contact ctlt.peerreview@ubc.ca). However, all faculty conducting visits should be appropriately prepared for the peer review process and be accomplished teachers with knowledge of sound principles of teaching and learning.

Mentoring (Formative) Review

Based on the department's mentoring guidelines, either individual mentors or mentoring committees should be assigned within the first year for each new faculty member. Review of teaching by mentors or other peers on an annual basis for new faculty is strongly recommended. Pair teaching for new faculty is also strongly recommended. Instructors are encouraged to participate in the Peer Review Program for informal assessment of teaching. Feedback from the mentor is provided directly to the visited faculty member and is not to be used by the formal summative peer evaluation process.

Peer Review of Teaching Protocols

Each department should provide to the candidate and reviewers a description of the protocol underlying the peer review of teaching including: details on the frequency, committee structure, initial meetings, classroom visits, the form of feedback to the candidate and the writing of the report (examples of protocols are provided Appendix 1). For summative peer evaluation of teaching, the aim is to make the peer review process and writing of the summative teaching report as equitable, consistent and transparent as possible during review for reappointment, promotion and tenure. For mentoring reviews/formative reviews, the aim is to provide the faculty member constructive and timely feedback on their teaching.

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) also offers a teaching development program for new faculty.

Summative Peer Evaluation of Teaching

  • Prior to visiting teaching sessions, members of the peer review of teaching committee or class observers should meet with the candidate and be provided with a course syllabus, the context of the lessons within the course, relevant course materials, access to online materials, the teaching dossier and teaching concerns the instructor identifies. The instructor should be informed of the period over which they may expect in-class visits with some departments choosing to disclose the specific schedule of classroom visits. The instructor should inform the committee of any days on which a classroom visit would be inappropriate (e.g., midterm exam or guest lecturer scheduled). This initial meeting with the instructor is strongly recommended.
  • Each reviewer, for each course evaluated, should review the design of the course including how learning opportunities for students are provided. Departments are encouraged to develop a teaching materials assessment worksheet (an example is provided in Appendix 3).
  • Each reviewer should attend at least two different classes each and complete separate observation forms for each visit; the reviewers should consult with the instructor to ensure that the classes are representative of various levels and contexts (e.g. large lectures, tutorials, labs etc.). Departments are encouraged to develop a teaching observation worksheet (an example is provided in Appendix 3). The list of criteria on the worksheet is intended to focus the attention of the observer and help set the basis for comments during the teaching session.
  • The teaching materials and observation worksheets could be appropriate for use in both mentoring reviews and summative peer evaluation of teaching as well as award adjudication. The worksheets can document evidence to support an assessment of the teaching of the course and help in the writing of the teaching report.
  • Some departments also choose to interview undergraduate students in an observed class and this approach is strongly recommended by DACOPAT. A member of the committee will interview the class or lab as a group for 10 minutes, without the instructor present. The interview is confidential and no student names will be recorded.
  • The reviewers should interview other members of the teaching team of the course including co-instructors and teaching assistants.
  • The reviewers write a Summative Peer Evaluation of Teaching Report which should be a summary of the observations from the classroom visits, student interviews, and review of supporting teaching material and address the criteria from the SAC guidelines: "Evaluation of teaching should be based on the effectiveness rather than the popularity of the instructor. Indicators of effectiveness include: command over subject matter, familiarity with recent developments in the field, preparedness, presentation, accessibility to students, and influence on the intellectual and scholarly development of students. Consideration shall be given to the ability and willingness of the candidate to teach a range of subject matter and at various levels of instruction." Use of the new UBC Rubric (Appendix 5) is recommended. The final report should not contain attribution of comments to any specific reviewers, but any dissenting views from a consensus could be recorded. The reviewers agreeing with the report must sign the report indicating approval before it is submitted to the Head.

Summative Assessment of Teaching Report

The summative assessment of teaching report for promotion and tenure will include one or more summative peer evaluations of teaching describe above. The report should address those criteria stipulated in the Guide to Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Procedures at UBC (a template is provided in Appendix 6). Use of the UBC Rubric is recommended (Appendix 5).

SAC guidelines: "Evaluation of teaching should be based on the effectiveness rather than the popularity of the instructor. Indicators of effectiveness include: command over subject matter, familiarity with recent developments in the field, preparedness, presentation, accessibility to students, and influence on the intellectual and scholarly development of students. Consideration shall be given to the ability and willingness of the candidate to teach a range of subject matter and at various levels of instruction."

Extensive details are provided in Appendix 6 but briefly the summative assessment should stand on its own and include:

  • a description of procedures followed in gathering evidence
  • the quantity of teaching of all kinds
  • a quantitative summary and qualitative assessment of student evaluations
  • a summary of summative peer teaching evaluations (as above)
  • an assessment of graduate and/or undergraduate research supervision
  • a description of other major teaching activities
  • a review/assessment of the teaching dossier

The summative assessment of teaching report can be written by the Teaching Peer Review Committee, the Promotion and Tenure Review Committee or the Head.

Peer of Review of Teaching Toolkit

These guidelines are intended to facilitate the peer review of teaching and have been developed with a tool-kit approach. Departments are encouraged to adapt any of the guidelines and worksheets in the tool-kit to develop a peer evaluation procedure to suit their specific teaching and learning environment(s). The aim of these guidelines and template worksheets is to promote rigorous peer review that is equitable across units and transparent for the candidates. This tool kit includes:

  • Departmental Protocol Guidelines
  • Teaching Dossier Guidelines
  • Teaching Evaluation Worksheet
  • Guidelines for a Mentoring/Formative Peer Review of Teaching Report
  • UBC’s Rubric for Summative Peer Review of Teaching
  • Guidelines for the Summative Assessment of Teaching Report for Promotion/Tenure

Download the Guidelines and Toolkit