University Policy on the Evaluation of Teaching
The university is committed to the goal of excellence in teaching. It therefore
provides encouragement and means for faculty development and establishes ways to
recognize and reward effective teaching. Evaluation of teaching serves to provide
information to the faculty member for self-improvement. In addition, suitably
devised evaluations of teaching provide a means that is as fair, reliable, and
valid as possible for the administrative evaluation of teaching performance for
Evaluation should be an ongoing aspect of all teaching/learning situations and
should involve dialogue between teachers and students. Evaluation for merit
awards must follow certain guidelines to insure maximum fairness, reliability,
The quality of teaching eludes precise definition. Nevertheless, any evaluation of
teaching depends on conceptions of desirable attributes, whether precisely formulated
or not. Teachers, students, and evaluators all need to think clearly about what good
teaching means to them, to share their ideas openly, and to identify various
components of good teaching and suitable combinations of methods for measuring
In the evaluation of the various aspects of teaching performance, an emphasis
should be placed on skills and knowledge (including aesthetics and clarification
of values where appropriate) acquired by students in each course. Attention
should also be paid to the relationship of the skills and knowledge acquired
to the overall objectives and the specific requirements of a given departmental
Various methods are available to obtain data for this use in the evaluation of
teaching and since any method is deficient if used alone, a combination must be
used, so that each source of data will act as a check on the others and thereby
contribute to a fairer evaluation. Obtaining a suitable data base for the
evaluation of certain components of good teaching, such as the skills and
knowledge acquired by students, may well be time-consuming. In addition, the
interpretation of the data must be supplemented by cautious consideration of
other factors germane to instruction, such as student ability and needs. Other factors that should be considered include grade distributions, class size, opinion survey response rates, and instructional format. Student learning is the result of the student's skills
and efforts as well as those of the instructor. The instructor
should be rewarded for good student learning and academic rigor regardless of whether it has resulted
from outstanding lectures, inspiration and encouragement of the students to perform
outside reading, effective drill, innovative teaching aids, or other methods.
Great caution must be exercised to insure that student opinion surveys are not used as a means
to make fine distinctions among faculty members. Even in combination, the available
means of evaluation are able to distinguish only the clearly superior and deficient
instructors from among the majority of competent teachers. The rating of an instructor
in the majority category should be considered as evidence of teaching competence.
Rank ordering of teachers is not valid and must be avoided in the evaluation process. When teaching is considered deficient or needs improvement, the evaluator(s) should make suggestions for improvement.
The total evaluation of teaching must include evaluation by Peer Review of Portfolio and student
opinion questionnaires. Colleges may choose to use additional methods especially in the case of
untenured, tenure-track faculty.
- Peer Review of Portfolio
The function of Peer Review of Portfolio is to evaluate teaching effectiveness by an
examination of the documents used in instruction. These documents are to be assembled
by each faculty member and presented to the department chair in accordance with the
established university evaluation schedule. The chair will collect all portfolios
and make them available to the designated evaluation committee. Reviews of portfolios
should be conducted every five years for tenured faculty, every three years for senior
lecturers and every year for nontenured faculty, lecturers, instructors, and adjunct faculty.
More frequent review may be requested by the faculty member, the chair or the dean.
Colleges may develop a less frequent portfolio review schedule for nontenured faculty,
lecturers, instructors, and adjunct faculty. All courses taught during the review
period should be included in the portfolio.
The full-time faculty of each department, through an election, are responsible for
establishing the procedure for the selection of evaluation committees as well as the
process for evaluation. Each portfolio must be evaluated by at least three individuals.
Under this policy it is possible that a department might elect to have a separate
committee for each faculty member, to assign the evaluation of all faculty to a standing
committee, or to designate a specifically elected committee for the purpose of
This portfolio will consist of all instructor provided materials used in each
course (not section) during the period covered by the evaluation. Materials
from only the most recently taught section of each course and only from courses
taught during the period covered by the evaluation should be included.
If the faculty member chooses, summer session courses may be included.
Where it is impractical to include items, such as films, a description of
those materials should be included.
Examples of materials to be submitted are the course syllabus, assignment
lists, research paper assignments, reading lists, study guides, handouts,
problem sets, laboratory exercises, performance assignments, simulations,
all testing materials including the final examination, and any other
material or information which would assist the committee in evaluating
the effectiveness of teaching.
In addition to the course materials, the faculty member should also provide
a brief summary of teaching load, grade distributions, the course objectives
and methods used to evaluate student performance.
In preparing the portfolio, the faculty member should keep in mind the issues
which the evaluation committee will address in its review. These issues are as follows:
The overall nature of the faculty member's teaching tasks. Examples
include number of courses taught, number of students in each course,
whether the faculty member had graduate student assistance with large
classes, presence of written work for large classes, and participation in
distance learning and other teaching venues requiring extra time and effort.
The overall quality of the materials selected for use by the faculty member
in each course covered by the evaluation. Issues include whether the materials are
current and represent the best work in the field, whether the materials represent
a superficial or a thorough coverage, how well the course has been developed, and
whether the intellectual tasks set by the instructor are appropriate.
The overall quality of feedback, evaluation and testing in each course covered
by the evaluation. Issues include whether the testing and evaluation procedures are
consistent with the intellectual tasks set by the instructor and whether adequate
feedback is provided to students in order to develop the desired levels of intellectual
performance. If appropriate, the reasonableness of grade distributions will be addressed.
If appropriate, the faculty member's efforts to improve teaching
Specific suggestions for improvement in any of the above areas.
In colleges or departments where faculty portfolios are developed and evaluated as
part of the accreditation process, this effort can substitute for peer review of portfolio
for the year of the accreditation review. The college or department should follow the process
outlined above in other years.
The peer review of portfolio process could result in faculty development proposals
for those faculty whose instruction, course materials, or evaluation methods need
improvement. Proposals for faculty development funds should be submitted by the
faculty member, the chair or the dean and should include cost-sharing figures.
- Student Opinion Questionnaires
The colleges are responsible for obtaining data for the evaluation
of teaching within the college by means of a university-wide student
opinion questionnaire. Supplemental questions (or separate questionnaires)
may be used by departments or individual faculty. In the case of courses
taught by telecommunications, questions related to teaching in that environment
should also be included. When courses are team-taught by more than one
faculty member, students should be asked to complete separate questionnaires
for each faculty member. Questions specific to team teaching should also be
included. Responses in the student's own words are to be solicited on questionnaires.
Students are to be made aware of the purposes and value of the questionnaire.
The standardized student opinion questionnaires will be administered
online by the university. Students will receive multiple notices from
the university and should be encouraged by the course instructors to
respond. The statistical results, produced so as to insure student anonymity,
should be simultaneously distributed to the faculty, to the chair of
the department, and to the dean as soon as the results are produced
or at the end of the normal grading period for the course, whichever
comes later. Comments and other questionnaire results obtained by means
other than these standardized procedures shall not be accepted as primary
evidence of teaching ability. Individuals in the evaluation process
will have access to the statistical results as contained in the individual
faculty member's file. Student opinion questionnaires will be administered
within the last three weeks of classes of the fall and spring semesters
and during the last two weeks of classes of the summer semesters (for
faculty who request that student opinion questionnaires be administered
in the summer courses, see D.2 below).
Administration of student opinion questionnaire forms should be according
to the following schedule:
All faculty members, including tenured, nontenured, adjunct and graduate
teaching assistants--each semester, every course.
Summer courses should not be evaluated using student opinion questionnaires
unless requested by the faculty member.
- Other Methods of Evaluation
As noted above, colleges and/or departments desiring an additional method of
evaluation should submit a proposal to the dean for review and possible approval.
Methods of evaluation that might be used are as follows:
Student achievement tests - Student achievement tests should be used for
evaluation of teaching if standardized and uniform questions and scoring are
feasible, and there exists a wide testing sample of students with different
instructors in different semesters or in different sections of the course.
Testing shall be performed both early and late in the course to insure a valid
measure of learning actually achieved during the course. This procedure will
not be appropriate in many teaching/learning situations. However, where it can
be used, it may well provide a good measure of the skills and knowledge actually
achieved in the course considered. It should be developed and utilized, where
possible, on a regular basis by the faculty on the department or college level.
Student interviews - Systematic exit interviews or surveys, or interviews at
predetermined stages of a student's major program, may be conducted within each
college or department. A standard format should be used. A means should be devised
to insure accurate recording of the interview, through the presence of a disinterested
observer, through maintenance of a written account, tape, or transcription of the
interview, or through other appropriate means. Comments about individual faculty members
should be transcribed and made available to them, although the identity of the students
will remain confidential.
Classroom visitation - A carefully designed and consistent program
of peer observation of teaching may be established within a college or
department. The design of the program of observation must provide for
a consistent program, with sufficient controls to avoid prejudice or caprice,
and must be approved by the college/department faculty, the department
chair, the dean and the provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Evaluation of distance education - When teaching students at a distance
using technology, such as instructional television, or the internet, further
evaluation may be based on: class visitation at a distant site
(as defined above), personal interviews of distant students (as defined above), benchmarking
against quality standards established by industry experts, e.g., the Sloan
Consortium, or a review of evaluations prepared by regional or national
consortia such as National Technological University. If a course is part
of a larger program for distance learners, the evaluation should also
assess faculty contribution to the success of the overall program.
Certain other procedures are generally considered to provide a less reliable
contribution to a fair and systematic evaluation of teaching performance and
therefore should be employed only with due caution. They include (1) evaluation
by organized student groups; (2) alumni surveys; and (3) self-evaluations. Normally,
use of data based on these procedures should be limited to a supplemental role and
not constitute a primary means of evaluating teaching performance. Colleges or
departments that wish to use these or other techniques not noted above as a primary
data source for the evaluation of teaching must develop clear standards of application
for their use. These procedures and standards of application must be approved by the faculty, the dean and the provost and vice president for academic affairs.
It is the responsibility of colleges or departments to establish formal procedures
for the evaluation of faculty, supervision of student research projects, internships,
tutorials, honors programs, and the like. The results of such evaluations may
be included in the evaluation process but must be used with extreme caution,
particularly when such activities constitute a major portion of an instructor's
Variables such as course level, type of course, class size, whether the course
is required vs. elective, teaching load, etc., must be constantly investigated
and taken into consideration by those involved in the evaluation process. Class
attrition is a questionable measure of teaching effectiveness, but if it is to
be used, its relationship to various variables must be examined. Evaluators in
all levels of the evaluation process must be attentive to allegations of bias,
and be particularly alert to patterns of possible discrimination.
Department chairs, deans, and appropriate faculty committees should be
knowledgeable concerning the evaluation, interpretation, and use of the data
gathered from the various evaluation sources. The university, through the
Office of Academic Affairs and other means, should make available opportunities
for faculty members and responsible administrators to obtain appropriate knowledge.
The data gathered in the evaluation process will not be made available to anyone beyond
those officially part of the evaluation process without the written authorization of the
faculty member. This restriction is not intended to apply to collegewide statistical
studies that do not reveal the identity of individual faculty members.
The several colleges are responsible for implementing the provisions of this policy.
The colleges may delegate this responsibility to departments as appropriate.
The development of college or departmental policy within the context of this policy
is primarily a function of the faculty.
Appropriate departmental, college, and university individuals and committees
should regularly review these policies on the evaluation of teaching and how
they are being implemented, both to insure that they are not being violated
to the possible detriment of the individuals being evaluated, and to initiate
It is the ultimate responsibility of the provost and vice president for academic
affairs to enforce the provisions of this policy.
| ||- Recommended by the Faculty Senate|
Approved by the president
Revised August 10, 1992
Revised January 22, 1993
Revised May 3, 1993
Revised April, 2003
Revised May 17, 2004
Revised June 2, 2005
Revised January 23, 2006
Revised April 9, 2007
Revised June 24, 2010