Summary of Best Practices
- Faculty involvement in developing the process is essential. Since
each department has unique characteristics, faculty should be involved
in tailoring general recommendations on peer review into specific guidelines
at the departmental level.
- Good peer review processes include several critical characteristics.
These critical characteristics include: openness, mutually agreed-upon
criteria, adherence to developed procedures, written feedback at all
stages, discussion of the results, and methods for monitoring and revising
- An effective peer review system must be supported by institutional
leadership. For peer review to be effective, the institution must
value the importance of teaching and articulate this value in all documents
related to the faculty review and reward system.
- Multiple sources, methods, and points in time must be included.
The most common sources of information on teaching effectiveness
include: student evaluation, instructor self-assessment, peer review
of course material, academic administrator evaluation, and peer
classroom observation. Reliance on any one source of information
to assess teaching effectiveness is to be avoided.
- Peers are the best source of judgement in several areas of teaching
performance. Peers serve as the best judge of subject matter expertise,
course goals, instructional materials and methods, assessment and grading
achievement, and professional and ethical behavior
- Both Formative and Summative Review must be accomplished. Formative
Review that provides information used by the individual for improvement
and professional development of teaching begins the first year of employment.
Summative Review focuses on information needed for personnel decisions
and accountability begins when a personnel decision is pending.
- Formative and Summative Reviews must only be used for the purpose
stated. Reviews for faculty development and reviews for personnel
decisions must be kept separate.
- Teaching mentors should be assigned to new faculty during the first
year of their contract. New faculty should be given support for
developing their teaching skills during their first year from experienced,
successful teachers in the department or possibly from another discipline.
- Preparation for being a Peer Reviewer is essential. Peer reviewers
can be mentors, developers, and judge depending on the type of review.
Peer reviewers need to study the literature related to in their roles
as formative or summative reviewers. Reviewers especially need advance
preparation for effective classroom observations.