Supervision of undergraduate research should be viewed positively when evaluating a faculty member’s teaching and research. This is especially the case if a student’s work merits publication as a coauthor in the original literature or in a presentation at a professional conference.
It is critical for faculty and administrators to understand that the criteria for evaluating teaching in these environments may be very different than is the case for more traditional classroom or laboratory situations. Department- or institution-wide instruments for evaluating and comparing teaching quality across disciplines may not reflect the different kinds of preparation and presentation that are required for these kinds of activities in the natural sciences and engineering. Thus, efforts should be made to adopt or adapt some of the newer instruments that are more appropriate for these kinds of teaching.
Given all of the above challenges, faculty in STEM who teach undergraduates could benefit greatly from practical guidance regarding techniques for improving learning among diverse undergraduate student populations. The scholarly literature and an increasing number of websites now provide this kind of assistance (see, e.g., Project Kaleidoscope <http://www.pkal.org> or the National Institute for Science Education <http://wcer.wisc.edu/nise>). However, many faculty never were introduced to this knowledge base during their graduate or postdoctoral years and have not acquired this perspective. These instructors may struggle through teaching assignments, often redeveloping techniques and approaches that others already have tested and disseminated.