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Peer review of teaching with a helping hand from the CFT

Posted by on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 in News, Resource.

by Cynthia Brame, Assistant Director 

Peer review is a cornerstone of the way that academics build new knowledge, helping to ensure high quality research that moves fields forward. Peer review of teaching can be a valuable tool for much the same reasons it is valuable for research. It can help departments and individuals reflect on teaching within their particular context and discipline and can also help build a community focused on sharing and exploration of effective practices.

The Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) Program within the School of Nursing took a thoughtful, intentional path to developing a peer review process this year. Director Leslie Hopkins knew that she wanted to implement a peer review process to help her faculty members think about their teaching as an area for continuous growth and improvement, much as they think about their scholarship.

Working with CFT Assistant Director Cynthia Brame and Nursing faculty develop Betsy Kennedy, faculty members in the program developed a collective statement of teaching philosophy to serve as a basis for their peer review. They determined that the goal of the peer review process would be formative assessment, allowing faculty members to identify areas of strength and areas for growth within their teaching, and that the review process would include a review of teaching materials as well as a teaching observation.  Based on the collective teaching philosophy, the group developed a pre-observation form as well as rubrics to facilitate a review of teaching materials and to facilitate classroom observation.

This spring, the group began to implement the peer review process. Cynthia and Betsy joined three faculty members as they reviewed each others’ materials and classroom teaching, culminating in a post-observation discussion. The group identified areas of strength for each faculty member as well as opportunities for improvement, and after the discussion, each faculty member identified a personal plan for improvement.

The participating faculty members found the process to be exciting and effective, and the program plans to move forward with using this process as a regular part of its work.

A guide for peer review of teaching is available on the CFT’s webpage, and the CFT is available to help develop a process that is effective for a particular department or program. In addition, the CFT works directly with departments in other ways as well. For other possibilities, see our “Services for Departments, Programs, and Schools” page. If you’d like us to help your department with a similar project, contact us at 322-7290.

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