Peer Review of Teaching

Peer review is an essential aspect of teaching evaluation, both for improvement and for personnel decisions, for several reasons. First, faculty are in a unique position to evaluate and provide feedback on aspects of their colleagues’ teaching that are beyond the expertise of students. These include the instructor’s knowledge of the field, how up to date the course materials are, the appropriate level of rigor, and contributions to course and curriculum development. In addition, as experienced teachers themselves, faculty can offer colleagues important perspectives to inform efforts to improve teaching, from discussions of course materials to debriefs of classroom observations. Finally, peer review – when done well – can lead to a number of benefits for the departmental and campus culture of teaching. These include the creation of a more robust conversation about criteria for excellent teaching, greater sharing of successes and challenges among colleagues, and an increased profile for teaching as an important part of the intellectual life of faculty and graduate students. The following resources offer guidance on various aspects of peer review. CRLT consultants are also available to consult with faculty committees, chairs, or associate deans who wish to set up or revise their strategies for peer review of teaching. To set up an appointment, complete our consultation request form.

An Introduction to Peer Review of Teaching
This resource from Vanderbilt University provides a comprehensive overview of what a peer review of teaching program might entail, as well as a discussion of the advantages and weaknesses to this approach for evaluating teaching.

A Protocol for Peer Review of Teaching (Brent and Felder, 2004)
An outline of a system of peer review used at North Carolina State University. The article includes a description of the classroom observations as well as peer review of instructional materials, and it includes sample ratings forms for both.

Rubrics for Peer Review (University of Minnesota)
This site on peer review includes a wide range of ratings instruments that can be used in peer observations, as well as reviews of syllabi and student work.

Rubric for Evaluation of Portfolio Materials (CRLT)
CRLT’s Occasional Paper on Teaching Portfolios includes this rubric (p. 7) that can be used for evaluating a variety of instructional materials that might be part of the peer review process.

Obtaining and Giving Feedback to GSIs (from CRLT Handbook on Departmental GSI Training)
This resource discusses several ways faculty coordinators can provide GSIs with feedback on their teaching, both for improvement and for personnel decisions. Methods include student feedback, self evaluation, peer observation, viewing a videotape of your teaching, and consultation with a CRLT staff member.

Teaching as Community Property: Putting an End to Pedagogical Solitude (Shulman, 1993)
A brief article outlining the importance and the benefits of “opening the classroom door.”

References for Peer Review of Teaching (Cornell University)
A list of books and articles for further reading about peer review and teaching evaluation more broadly.

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