Peer Review of Teaching

Teaching and learning are at the heart of Duquesne University.  In order to assure quality and provide regular feedback to instructors on their teaching, Duquesne uses two kinds of teaching evaluation: student and peer.  We believe that both student and faculty peer perspectives on one’s teaching and course design are helpful – each in its own way.

Full-time faculty are required to participate in the peer evaluation of teaching.  Part-time faculty are encouraged to do so as well. However, "processes for the evaluation of part-time faculty members vary by department, other academic unit, and school or college. Part-time faculty members should consult their department chair, academic supervisor, or dean for information about the evaluation of part-time faculty." (Faculty Handbook 5.5)

In preparing one’s promotion dossier, it is crucial to provide the evidence of teaching evaluation outlined in the Faculty Handbook.  Faculty are responsible for assuring they have sufficient numbers of evaluations prior to pre-tenure review, promotion and tenure, and promotion to full professor.

For graduate students preparing to become faculty, student, peer and faculty supervisor evaluations of teaching are helpful in the academic job search.  Teaching observations are required for the Certificate of University Teaching.

Effective Faculty Peer Review of Teaching

On October 9, 2009, CTE hosted a workshop on the peer review of teaching led by Dr. Nancy Simpson (Texas A&M University).

The workshop offers valuable guidance for both faculty undergoing peer review and those conducting the review.  Dr. Simpson’s presentation and handouts are password protected for the use by Duquesne’s academic community. View the video online and get the session handouts. You will need your Duquesne multipass login.

Topics in the presentation include:

  • The purposes for faculty peer review of teaching, both formative (for improvement) and summative (for decision making).
  • Aspects of teaching and learning that faculty peers are best suited to examine.
  • An overview of what good college teaching looks like in its various forms and what is reasonable to expect across teaching and learning contexts at the university.
  • Sound procedures for observing classes and for evaluating course materials.
  • Tips for debriefing with the reviewee and for documenting the peer review.

About the Presenter

photo of Nancy SimpsonDr. Simpson has over 15 years of experience in teaching college mathematics and has worked in the field of faculty development since 1991. In addition to extensive experience in working with faculty as the former director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at TAMU, Nancy has worked with national faculty development initiatives including the Wakonse Foundation's Conference on College Teaching and the Pew-Funded Peer Review of Teaching Project. Nancy has authored several journal articles and book chapters and was the principal investigator on an NSF-funded project, Writing for Assessment and Learning in the Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

Faculty and TAs are welcome to make an appointment to discuss their teaching evaluations with CTE staff for the purpose of improving their teaching.