October 6, 2020

Peer Review of Teaching: Professional Development Through Collaboration and Reflection

Guest Writer: Mike Anders, PhD, Associate Professor of Assessment and Evaluation OED

As with research, peer review helps ensure the highest quality of teaching.  Peer review of teaching can prompt deliberate improvement through a collaborative, reflective process.  Though student evaluations provide important information, sole reliance on them for feedback can foster a consumer approach to teaching.  Effective peer review adds valuable formative feedback that aligns with the faculty member’s dedication to teaching excellence as well as the UAMS vision for scholarly, innovative teaching.  Documentation of peer review of teaching supports promotion and tenure.  Following best practices is the key to realizing these benefits.  This blog briefly describes best practices in peer review of teaching, including the sequential process.

Best practices in peer review of teaching are consistent with the conceptual framework for deliberate practice, in which the faculty member under review establishes a goal then practices and reflects with this goal in mind.  The peer reviewer serves as a coach.  The reviewer should have teaching expertise, trustworthiness to establish a psychologically safe environment and maintain confidentiality, facilitation skills, and familiarity with the peer-review process.  Senior or expert faculty members can serve well in this role.  Alternatively, some faculty members may prefer a reviewer from outside their program.  The Office of Educational Development offers peer review in the Teaching Observation by Peers program (educationaldevelopment.uams.edu).  The faculty member under review and the reviewer work through a sequential process in a collaborative, collegial manner (Figure 1).

Peer Review Process

*Alternatively, a more comprehensive peer review could include curriculum mapping, with alignment of program, course, and activity learning objectives, educational activities, and student assessment.

 

Conclusion

Peer review offers professional development and prompts quality teaching.  The reviewer tailors the sequential process, based on the specific aims of the faculty member under review.  Best practices feature deliberation, collaboration, psychological safety, and reflection.

 

The Office of Educational Development welcomes opportunities to facilitate peer reviews of teaching as well as your questions or comments on this blog.