Peer and Chair Evaluations – Full Time

Overview of the Classroom Observation Process

The Peer and Chair Evaluations serve both a summative and formative purpose. Although having someone sit in your classroom and observe your teaching may seem daunting, it is important to remember that you have flexibility as to when you choose to have the evaluations completed and, therefore, which class you will have evaluated. Each evaluation is comprised of three parts: the pre-observation meeting, the peer observation, and the post-observation meeting.

The pre-observation meeting usually takes place at a mutually agreed to date within a week or two of the observation and is intended to provide you the opportunity to discuss the upcoming peer observation. You might discuss the learning objectives, your objectives for the observation, any contextual information that might affect the peer observation. An example of a contextual factor might be that you are teaching the course for the first time. Finally, as the peer observation is also intended to be formative, this pre-observation meeting also provides you the opportunity to request feedback on any area that you might think is helpful. You will also be asked to provide the evaluator access to your Blackboard site as well as any materials you plan to use in the observed class.

The Peer observation itself will take place during a class that you choose (based upon the evaluator’s schedule). Although you are not required to anything special for the peer observation class, you may want to consider the criteria that the evaluator will be assessing (listed on forms 101 and 102) in planning your class. The Tenure and Promotion Handbook outlines how the classroom observation should be conducted. Some key points are:

  • The evaluator arrives early and takes an unobtrusive seat;
  • You may inform the students that the evaluator is present at the beginning of class
  • The evaluator stays for the entire class, or if it is a long class (i.e. 3-hours), leaves during the break;
  • The evaluator does not discuss the course with the students (i.e., they should not solicit input from students on how they feel the course is going)

The post-observation meeting occurs after you receive the draft of your evaluation and is arranged by the evaluator. You must receive the draft at least three days prior to the post observation meeting. At this meeting, the peer evaluator can review with you the feedback they have given in the draft and will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions. Only factors that are related to teaching effectiveness should be included in the evaluation. The Mount Royal University Tenure and Promotion Handbook outlines the following topics that should be included in the post-observation meeting:

  • Inferences that are drawn by the evaluator regarding the observations made during the class, with an objective focus on behaviours
  • Additional areas of observational feedback as determined in the pre-observation meeting;
  • Opportunities for improvement; and
  • Feedback on course design and resources

If you receive feedback on the draft evaluation that you do not agree with, the post-observation meeting provides you with an opportunity to discuss it

What Peer and Chair Evaluations are required?

Article 28.5 of the Collective Agreement outlines the requirements for peer and chair evaluations. For Peer Evaluations, you will require two types: one type (internal peer evaluation) is conducted by a tenured faculty member from your own department, and the other type (external peer evaluation) is conducted by a tenured faculty member from another department. The Chair evaluation may be completed by the Chair of your department, however, they may also designate another person to do the evaluation (Article 28.5.6 of the Collective Agreement).

For tenurable, conditional tenurable, and limited-term employees, the number and type of evaluations you must have completed will depend on which year of the process you are in. Appendix D of the Mount Royal University Tenure and Promotion Handbook clearly outlines the requirement for each year.

Who should I ask to do my evaluations?

 Article 28.5.2 stipulates that faculty may choose who will do their peer evaluations. That being said, there are restrictions. The evaluator you choose must be a tenured faculty member and must be approved by the Chair of your department. Further, the current Collective Agreement Article 28.5.3 states that peer evaluators must have completed training prior to completing evaluations. Although the Dean may waive this requirement based on a reasonable explanation, having completed previous evaluations (even for many years) is not an acceptable reason for waiving the training.

The final requirement for a potential peer evaluator to agree to complete your peer evaluation is that they must confirm there is no conflict of interest as outlined in Article 9.4.3 of the Collective Agreement.

What will I be evaluated on?

In 2017, General Faculties Council approved new Peer and Chair evaluation forms.

Tenure Form 101: Peer Teaching Evaluation and Tenure Form 102: Chair Teaching Evaluation can be found on the myMRU website, Faculty tab, under the Tenure and Promotion Section – Tenure Forms. Both of these forms list the same criteria upon which you will be evaluated.

The criteria for competent teaching are that the faculty member:

  • demonstrates satisfactory knowledge of the relevant subject area(s);
  • organizes and presents course content clearly;
  • communicates high expectations;
  • fosters interaction between students and faculty;
  • encourages active learning;
  • develops collaboration and cooperation among students;
  • emphasizes time on task;
  • gives prompt and meaningful feedback;
  • respects diverse talents and ways of learning; and
  • performs course-related administrative tasks efficiently.

The criteria for proficient and scholarly teaching, in addition to those for competent teaching, are that the faculty member:

  • demonstrates currency in his or her discipline(s);
  • engages in teaching and learning professional development;
  • utilizes pedagogical best practices for the discipline;
  • aligns teaching philosophy, intended outcomes, learning activities and assessment strategies; and
  • engages in systematic reflection on teaching practices.

What do I do after I receive my evaluation?

 At present time, there is no article of the Collective Agreement regarding a set time within which your evaluator must complete the written peer evaluation, however, the Mount Royal University Tenure and Promotion Handbook suggests it should be completed within two weeks of the observation. After you receive the draft of the evaluation, it is the responsibility of the evaluator to arrange a post-observation meeting with you. If you have any questions, require clarification, or do not agree with anything in the draft, you should raise this at the post-observation meeting.

Within a week following the post-observation meeting, the evaluator will finalize the evaluation and complete the Evaluator summary of discussion at the meeting section in Part III of the Peer Evaluation Form. The evaluator will then forward the final evaluation to you to complete the Instructor reflections on the evaluation section.

Within ten (10) days to submit additional material to help contextualize the evaluation. According to Article 28.5.5 of the Collective Agreement, this material may include:

  • a statement of teaching philosophy;
  • instructional material, including syllabus and course materials;
  • description of teaching contributions that are not evaluated by student evaluations of instruction;
  • contributions in pedagogical development and innovation;
  • written responses to student evaluations of instruction;
  • scholarship related to teaching;