Peer Observation

People talking at Office of Faculty Development workshop.

Photo from an Office of Faculty Development workshop.

About

The goal of this program is to support all faculty in their progress toward excellence in teaching and learning through the use of in-class peer observations by exemplar faculty. Faculty members who have peer observations conducted will obtain a greater knowledge of specific ways to improve their classroom teaching skills. The review is formative, and should not be considered a summative review of the faculty member's abilities.

The most important question that our peer teaching observers ask is, "What will help you?" Peer observation is about your needs as an instructor. Don't expect a lecture about the "right" way to teach, or a critique of your syllabus or anything generic (unless you ask for it!). Instead, peer observation is about becoming aware of what you are and are not doing. Your peer observer can give you specific advice about techniques that can improve your performance. They will also help you set goals for yourself, based on a discussion of your strengths and areas of growth. This program is for pre-tenured and tenured faculty who are interested in developing their classroom techniques, skills and abilities. This program is not a replacement for or a contribution to a tenure application.

Peer teaching observation process 

  1. Pre-observation meeting: The first step in the process is for you to sit down with the peer observer and discuss your needs. How can they help you? What areas are you interested in learning more about? How can they use their skills to give you a boost in the classroom? 
  2. Observation: The next step is for the peer observer to visit your class and carefully observe your teaching style, techniques, and any barriers that might hinder learning. They may also interview students, at your request.
  3. Post-observation meeting: After the observation, you will have a meeting to talk about the class. What did you do well? What could you improve on? The observer will help you create an “action plan” of a few specific techniques or ideas you will try to use in the future.
  4. Follow up: Finally, the Office of Faculty Development will talk to you about how our office can help you achieve your goals. You will learn about the programs and services we have that will help you reach your goals, and we will learn about new areas where we can expand our offerings.

Peer observers

All of the Office of Faculty Development peer observers are faculty who have been recognized for teaching excellence. They are experts in the classroom and come from many different fields. All the peer observers have a consistent approach toward peer observation that was developed by our office. When requesting a peer observation, you may request a specific observer, or you may request that we assign one to you.

  • Kaliash Bafna: Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; Specialty: Elearning, web-based lectures, small undergraduate classes
  • Sue Ellen Christian: Communication; Specialty: Teaching writing, small classes, multicultural sensitivity
  • Chad Edwards: Communication; Specialty: Large lectures, student engagement, technology, social media in the classroom
  • Andrew Kline: Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Imaging; Speciality: Breaking down concepts to lecture with, student engagement
  • Irma López: Spanish; Speciality: Small lectures, graduate and undergraduate classes
  • Debra Lindstrom: Occupational Therapy; Speciality: Problem-based and case-based learning, developing critical thinking and clinical reasoning, giving students professional feedback
  • Sarah Summy: Special Education and Literacy Studies; Speciality: Teaching with multiple modalities, syllabus development including writing and implementing course objectives, undergraduate and graduate classes
  • Gwen Tarbox: English; Speciality: Large lecture classrooms, student engagement
  • Grace Tiffany: English; Speciality: Seminars, small lectures
  • Sally Vliem: Nursing; SpecialitySmall classrooms, simulation
  • Jaclyn Ryan: Occupational Therapy; Specialty: Problem-based and case-based learning, developing clinical reasoning, small-group experiential learning
  • Brian Wilson: Comparative Religion; Specialty: Large classes

Documents

Tools

Background