Faculty Handbook, Part I: Bylaws
“By the beginning of the second year of service, formal classroom observations for review purposes must commence. A completed classroom observation regimen consists of 2 visits to the same class in one semester by the same faculty member. At least two faculty members will have completed a classroom observation regimen for the candidate by the end of the first semester of the third year of service (in other words, the last semester before Review 1).
In general, these observations should be conducted by faculty members of the observed faculty member’s department or program. In rare circumstances, observations for review purposes may be conducted by faculty outside of an observed faculty member’s department or program; however, observations conducted by outside faculty must be approved by CoTAP prior to the observation. All faculty who have completed a classroom observation regimen should include comments on those classroom visits in their departmental letters, or write a separate letter based on those classroom observations. (Rare circumstances include those in which there is no faculty member in the department or program who has the expertise required to evaluate the classroom performance of the observed faculty member, e.g., in an area studies program where no one in the program is sufficiently fluent in the language in which the observed faculty member is teaching, or where there are not at least two colleagues additional to the candidate in the department/program.) In general, classroom observation procedures and documentation should follow the classroom observation guidelines set out in the Faculty Handbook, Section VIII.2 [REVISED May 2012].”
—Faculty Handbook, Part I: Bylaws, pg. 10
The Center for Teaching and Learning and Committee on the Faculty (CoFac) have collaborated to provide resources for academic departments and programs to create procedures for classroom observations based on best practices as spelled out in page 77 of the Faculty Handbook. Classroom observations provide a summative assessment for the tenure review process, but also provide a formative assessment for individual teaching. Formative observations can also be done through the CTL Midsemester Assessment Process (MAP) and more information can be found here. The resources here will help with both summative and formative observation assessments and will help to create a culture of collegial support around pedagogy.
In February 2013, the CTL and CoFac held a series of small discussions with faculty to discuss observing faculty, being observed, and departmental procedures. The following themes and suggestions emerged from those discussions: