Box 8-1.Four Fundamental Premises

  • Effective postsecondary teaching in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) should be available to all students, regardless of their major.

  • The design of curricula and the evaluation of teaching and learning should be collective responsibilities of faculty in individual departments or, where appropriate, performed through other interdepartmental arrangements.

  • Scholarly activities that focus on improving teaching and learning should be recognized as bona fide endeavors that are equivalent to other scholarly pursuits. Scholarship devoted to improving teaching effectiveness and learning should be accorded the same administrative and collegial support that is available for efforts to improve other research and service endeavors.

  • Faculty who are expected to work with undergraduates should be given support and mentoring in teaching throughout their careers; hiring practices should provide a first opportunity to signal institutions’ teaching values and expectations of faculty.

based on the premise that evidence of student learning should be an important criterion for evaluating teaching. In turn, evaluation of teaching that is predicated on learning outcomes has

To be useful, teaching evaluation has to become a feedback process. Given the aging of faculty and the public demand for better teaching, we need to consider ways of using comprehensive evaluation systems to provide faculty with feedback or information about their performance that includes recommendations for future improvement.

SOURCE: Ory (2000, p. 13).

implications for how teaching is honored and supported by educational institutions.

The kind of evaluation being recommended here requires the collection of different kinds of evidence that can be used to determine whether faculty and departments are indeed promoting student learning. Thus, if tenure review committees of senior faculty rely exclusively on outside letters evaluating research and teaching accomplishments, if they have had no personal involvement with methods of evaluating teaching or understanding how students learn, and if their teaching experience has been bounded only by the lecture hall, the messages they send about the importance of formative evaluation of teaching will be crystal clear and will not contribute to more effective teaching.

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