University Policy on the Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness
The University is committed to the goal of excellence in teaching. It therefore provides encouragement and means
for faculty development and establishes ways to recognize and reward effective teaching. Advisement of students
as it relates to undergraduate research and theses, master's theses and doctoral dissertations is an
important area of teaching. Each department should develop methods of evaluating, encouraging and rewarding
excellence in student research advisement. Evaluation of teaching serves to provide information to the faculty
member for self-improvement.
Suitably devised evaluations of teaching (including research advisement) provide a means that is as
fair, reliable, and valid as possible for the administrative evaluation of teaching performance for
merit rewards. Evaluation for merit awards must follow certain guidelines to ensure maximum fairness,
reliability, and validity.
In the evaluation of the various aspects of teaching performance, an emphasis should be placed on skills
and knowledge (including aesthetics and clarification of values where appropriate) acquired by students
in each course. Attention should also be paid to the relationship of the skills and knowledge acquired
to the overall objectives and the specific requirements of a given departmental program.
A combination of methods must be used, so that each source of data will act as a check on the others and
thereby contribute to a fairer evaluation. The interpretation of the data must be supplemented by
cautious consideration of other factors germane to instruction, such as student ability and needs. Other
factors that should be considered include grade distributions, class size, opinion survey response
rates, and instructional format. Student learning is the result of the student's skills and efforts
as well as those of the instructor.
Great caution must be exercised to ensure that student opinion surveys are not used as a means to make
fine distinctions among faculty members. The rating of an instructor in the majority category should be
considered as evidence of teaching competence. Rank ordering of teachers or comparisons to departmental,
college or university averages is not valid in the evaluation process. References to isolated student
comments should be avoided unless an established trend can be demonstrated. When teaching is considered
deficient or needs improvement, the evaluator(s) should make suggestions for improvement.
Variables, such as course level, type of course, class size, whether the course is required vs.
elective, teaching load, etc., must be constantly investigated and taken into consideration by those
involved in the evaluation process. Class attrition is a questionable measure of teaching effectiveness,
but if it is to be used, its relationship to various variables must be examined.
Evaluators in all levels of the evaluation process must be attentive to allegations of bias and
be particularly alert to patterns of possible discrimination.
Department chairs, deans, and appropriate faculty committees should be knowledgeable concerning
the evaluation, interpretation, and use of the data gathered from the various evaluation
sources. The University, through the Office of Academic Affairs and other means, should make
available opportunities for faculty members and responsible administrators to obtain appropriate
The data gathered in the evaluation process will not be made available to anyone beyond those
officially part of the evaluation process without the written authorization of the faculty
member. This restriction is not intended to apply to college-wide statistical studies that do
not reveal the identity of individual faculty members.
The several colleges are responsible for implementing the provisions of this policy. The colleges may
delegate this responsibility to departments as appropriate. The development of college or departmental
policy within the context of this policy is primarily a function of the faculty.
Appropriate departmental, college, and University individuals and committees should regularly
review these policies on the evaluation of teaching (including research advisement) and how they
are being implemented, both to ensure that they are not being violated to the possible detriment
of the individuals being evaluated, and to initiate needed improvements.
It is the ultimate responsibility of the provost and vice president for academic affairs to enforce the
provisions of this policy.
The total evaluation of teaching must include evaluation by Peer Review of Portfolio and student opinion
surveys. Colleges may choose to use additional methods especially in the case of untenured, tenure-track
Peer Review of Portfolio
The function of Peer Review of Portfolio is to evaluate teaching effectiveness by an examination of the
documents used in instruction. These documents are to be assembled by each faculty member and presented
to the department chair in accordance with the established University evaluation schedule. The chair
will collect all portfolios and make them available to the designated evaluation committee.
Reviews of portfolios should be conducted every five years for tenured faculty, every three
years for clinical professors and clinical associate professors, master lecturers and senior
lecturers, and every year for other nontenure-eligible faculty with teaching duties (including
faculty of practice, lecturers, clinical assistant professors, instructors, and adjunct
faculty), as well as untenured tenure-track faculty. More frequent review may be requested by
the faculty member, the chair or the dean. All courses taught during the review period should be
included in the portfolio.
The full-time faculty of each department, through an election, are responsible for establishing
the procedure for the selection of evaluation committees as well as the process for evaluation.
Each portfolio must be evaluated by at least three individuals. Under this policy it is possible
that a department might elect to have a separate committee for each faculty member, to assign
the evaluation of all faculty to a standing committee, or to designate a specifically elected
committee for the purpose of portfolio evaluation.
This portfolio will consist of all instructor-provided materials used in each course (not
section) during the period covered by the evaluation. Materials from only the most recently
taught section of each course and only from courses taught during the period covered by the
evaluation should be included. If the faculty member chooses, summer session courses may be
included. Where it is impractical to include items, such as films, a description of those
materials should be included.
Examples of materials to be submitted are the course syllabus, assignment lists,
research paper assignments, reading lists, study guides, handouts, problem sets,
laboratory exercises, performance assignments, simulations, all testing materials
including the final examination, efforts to improve teaching (including research
advising), teaching development activities, and any other material or information that
would assist the committee in evaluating the effectiveness of teaching. Student opinion
surveys are considered in the annual review and are not a part of the teaching portfolio
In addition to the course materials, the faculty member should also provide a brief
summary of teaching and research advising loads, grade distributions, the course
objectives and methods used to evaluate student performance.
The issues that the evaluation committee will address in its review are as follows:
The overall nature of the faculty member's teaching tasks. Examples include number
of courses taught, number of students in each course, whether the faculty member had
graduate student assistance with large classes, presence of written work for large
classes, number of research students advised, and participation in distance learning and
other teaching venues requiring extra time and effort.
The overall quality of the materials selected for use by the faculty member in each
course covered by the evaluation. Issues include whether the materials are current and
represent the best work in the field, whether the materials represent a superficial or a
thorough coverage, how well the course has been developed, and whether the intellectual
tasks set by the instructor are appropriate.
The overall quality of feedback, evaluation and testing in each course covered by the
evaluation. Issues include whether the testing and evaluation procedures are consistent
with the intellectual tasks set by the instructor and whether adequate feedback is
provided to students in order to develop the desired levels of intellectual performance.
If appropriate, the reasonableness of grade distributions will be addressed.
Specific suggestions for improvement in any of the above areas.
In colleges or departments where faculty portfolios are developed and evaluated as part of the
accreditation process, this effort can substitute for peer review of portfolio for the year of
the accreditation review. The college or department should follow the process outlined above in
The peer review of portfolio process could result in faculty development proposals for those
faculty whose instruction, course materials, or evaluation methods need improvement. Proposals
for faculty development funds should be submitted by the faculty member, the chair or the dean
and should include cost-sharing figures.
Student Opinion Surveys
The colleges are responsible for obtaining data to assist in the evaluation of teaching
effectiveness within the college by means of a university-wide student opinion survey.
Supplemental questions (or separate surveys) may be used by departments or individual faculty.
In the case of courses taught by telecommunications, questions related to teaching in that
environment should also be included. When courses are team-taught by more than one faculty
member, students should be asked to complete separate surveys for each faculty member. Questions
specific to team teaching should also be included where appropriate. Responses in the student's
own words are to be solicited on surveys.
Students are to be made aware of the purposes and value of the survey.
The standardized student opinion surveys will be administered online by the University. Students
will receive multiple notices from the University and should be encouraged by the course
instructors to respond.
The statistical results, produced so as to ensure student anonymity, are made available
to the faculty, to the chair of the department, and to the dean as soon as the results
are produced or at the end of the normal grading period for the course, whichever comes
later. Results for student opinion surveys where five or fewer students are enrolled in
a class will be made available to faculty and administrators with the removal of
The student opinion survey results form one component of the overall evaluation of
teaching effectiveness. Individuals who have a role in the process of evaluating
teaching effectiveness will have access to the statistical results as contained in the
individual faculty member's file. Survey results obtained by means other than these
standardized procedures shall not be accepted as primary evidence of teaching ability.
Student opinion surveys will be administered within the last two weeks of classes for
full-term classes (15 weeks or greater) and during the last nine days of classes for
courses less than 15 weeks for the fall and spring semesters for all faculty members,
including tenured, nontenured, adjunct and graduate teaching assistants, and during the
last two weeks of classes of the summer semesters (for faculty who request that student
opinion surveys be administered in the summer courses and for faculty on alternate
Other Methods of Evaluation
As noted above, colleges and/or departments desiring an additional method of evaluation should submit a
proposal to the dean for review and possible approval. Methods of evaluation that might be used are as
Student achievement tests - Student achievement tests should be used for evaluation of teaching
if standardized and uniform questions and scoring are feasible, and there exists a wide testing
sample of students with different instructors in different semesters or in different sections of
the course. Testing shall be performed both early and late in the course to ensure a valid
measure of learning actually achieved during the course. It should be developed and utilized,
where possible, on a regular basis by the faculty on the department or college level.
Student interviews - Systematic exit interviews or surveys, or interviews at predetermined
stages of a student's major program, may be conducted within each college or department. A
standard format should be used. A means should be devised to ensure accurate recording of the
interview, through the presence of a disinterested observer, through maintenance of a written
account, tape, or transcription of the interview, or through other appropriate means. Comments
about individual faculty members should be transcribed and made available to them, although the
identity of the students will remain confidential.
Classroom visitation - A carefully designed and consistent program of peer observation of
teaching may be established within a college or department. The design of the program of
observation must provide for a consistent program, with sufficient controls to avoid prejudice
or caprice, and must be approved by the college/department faculty, the department chair, the
dean and the provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Evaluation of distance education - When teaching students at a distance using technology, such
as instructional television, or the internet, further evaluation may be based on: class
visitation at a distant site (as defined above), personal interviews of distant students (as
defined above), benchmarking against quality standards established by industry experts, e.g.,
the Sloan Consortium, or a review of evaluations prepared by regional or national consortia such
as National Technological University. If a course is part of a larger program for distance
learners, the evaluation should also assess faculty contribution to the success of the overall
Certain other procedures are generally considered to provide a less reliable contribution to a
fair and systematic evaluation of teaching performance and therefore should be employed only
with due caution. They include (1) evaluation by organized student groups; (2) alumni surveys;
and (3) self-evaluations. Normally, use of data based on these procedures should be limited to a
supplemental role and not constitute a primary means of evaluating teaching performance.
Colleges or departments that wish to use these or other techniques not noted above as a primary
data source for the evaluation of teaching must develop clear standards of application for their
use. These procedures and standards of application must be approved by the faculty, the dean and
the provost and vice president for academic affairs.
It is the responsibility of colleges or departments to establish formal procedures for the
evaluation of faculty, supervision of student research projects, internships, tutorials, honors
programs, and the like. The results of such evaluations may be included in the evaluation
process but must be used with extreme caution, particularly when such activities constitute a
major portion of an instructor's teaching load.
| ||- Recommended by the Faculty Senate|
Approved by the president
Revised August 10, 1992
Revised January 22, 1993
Revised May 3, 1993
Revised April, 2003
Revised May 17, 2004
Revised June 2, 2005
Revised January 23, 2006
Revised April 9, 2007
Revised June 24, 2010
Revised April 16, 2013
Revised December 16, 2014
Revised May 12, 2016 effective for July 1, 2016
Revised May 1, 2020