The Holy Cross Peer Teaching Program
Having pondered the question of teaching evaluation since the Center's inception, the Advisory Board for the Center for Teaching feels ready to launch a program for faculty who wish either to be observed and receive feedback on their teaching or observe other faculty in action in order to learn new techniques or to improve classroom practices. The Center will serve as a facilitator between the faculty seeking another faculty member to either observe their teaching or to be observed.
Visit by a Peer
As a faculty member, you would request advice or feedback on a specific aspect of your teaching: syllabus preparation; assignments; grading; in-class performance and so on. At the time of the request, the director of the Center for Teaching will meet with you to discuss how best to match you with an appropriate faculty teaching peer. You can either suggest a faculty member or, based on the nature of your interests, the director can make some suggestions. After you and the director agree on some possible peers, the director will make contact and arrange a meeting between you, the director, and the peer faculty.
At this meeting, you and your selected peer will determine what course materials to observe (e.g., syllabus, assignments, graded assignments, exams, Moodle pages, CEFs, classroom activities). The three of you will also schedule the observations especially if it is decided there will be classroom visits and/or if the peer will spend some time with students informally and depending on your wishes, administer a questionnaire (Questions might depend on class size, format, etc. and are determined by the faculty and the peer). If a questionnaire is used, your faculty observer will explain the process to the students, assuring them that their responses are anonymous. Lastly, we will schedule a time for you to meet with your peer to discuss the observations after class materials are examined and classroom visits are completed. At this meeting, you and your peer will decide if you want to go further and work together to find ways to address any issues identified or whether to meet again. However, for the purpose of the Center for Teaching, the task is complete after one such meeting. All you need to do is inform the director that the planned schedule of observations and one follow up meeting have been completed.
Visit to a Peer
The Visit to a Peer will operate very much the same as above. You would express an interest in examining and observing the teaching of a peer (e.g., syllabus, assignments, graded assignments, exams, Moodle pages, CEFs and classroom activities). Again, at the time of the request the director will meet with you to discuss how to best match you with an appropriate faculty peer to observe, leading to a meeting between you, the peer teacher and the director. No questionnaires would be administered nor would you meet separately with your host's students.
Again, as above, the teacher, peer and director will schedule their first meeting, times for classroom observations and the single post-observation discussion between the teacher and peer. Anything beyond informing the director that the planned schedule has been completed and that the peer teachers have met once is up to the individuals.
In both the Visit to or Visit by a Peer, the peer relationship is meant to be personal and flexible so as to allow for the faculty involved to modify, adapt, and create the interactions that they believe will be most beneficial. The "deliverable" from this interaction will take the form of a conversation or series of conversations between the two teachers. No record of the consultation will be included in the Faculty File of either the peer being reviewed or the peer being observed. Those who volunteer to assist, either to be observed teaching or to review a teacher, will only receive a general letter of thanks from the director, without reference to the faculty member they partnered, to recognize his or her valuable service to the College.
The Advisory Board therefore hopes all faculty will be willing to participate in this exciting new program in either role in the peer relationship, and that they feel free to participate more than once.
If you would like to have a peer review your teaching in the coming year, or just chat about the program, please contact: Matthew Koss, x2406,