more accurate, particularly when based on the views of current and former students, colleagues, and the instructor or department being reviewed. The process of evaluating teaching has been found to work best when all faculty members in a given department (or, in smaller colleges, from across the institution) play a strong role in developing policies and procedures. This is the case because evaluation criteria must be clear, well known and understood, scheduled regularly, and acceptable to all who will be involved with rendering or receiving evaluation (Alverno College Faculty, 1994; Gardiner et al., 1997; Loacker, 2001; Wergin, 1994; Wergin and Swingen, 2000).2

Evidence that can be most helpful in formatively evaluating an individual faculty member’s teaching efficacy and providing opportunities for further professional development includes the following points:

Input from Students and Peers
  • Evidence of learning from student portfolios containing samples of their writing on essays, examinations, and presentations at student research conferences or regional or national meetings. Additional direct and indirect classroom techniques that demonstrate student learning are discussed in Chapter 5.

  • Informed opinions of other members of the faculty member’s department, particularly when those opinions are based on direct observation of the candidate’s teaching scholarship or practice. The ability to offer such input comes from the reviewer’s observing a series of the candidate’s classes, attending the candidate’s public lectures or presentations at professional association meetings, serving on curricular committees with the candidate, or team teaching with the candidate. Opinions of faculty colleagues also can be based on their observations of student performance in courses that build upon those taught by the faculty member being evaluated.

  • Input by faculty from “user” departments for service courses and from related disciplines for interdisciplinary courses. Such information can be very helpful in determining whether students are learning subject matter in ways that will enable them to transfer that learn


Alverno College has sponsored a comprehensive research program on assessment of student learning and means of tying that assessment to ongoing improvement of both teaching by individuals and departmental approaches to education. For additional information, see Alverno College Faculty (1994). A more recent monograph edited by Loacker (2001) describes Alverno’s program, with a focus on how students experience self-assessment and learn from it to improve their performance. Then from the perspective of various disciplines, individual faculty explain how self-assessment works in their courses.

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