Evaluation of Teaching

Peer Review

It is the goal of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine to create a culture where peer review of teaching is a normal and expected part of the teaching evaluation consistent with UMN policy. The expectation is for all CVM faculty at any rank, with any percentage teaching appointment (DVM, graduate, or undergraduate) to serve as a reviewer and to be peer reviewed once per calendar year.

Given the breadth of faculty responsibilities, there exists a wide range of activities that can serve as a teaching event to observe and review. These could include classroom or laboratory visits, recorded lectures, mentoring and advising activities, or a review of notes, handouts, active learning activities, examinations, and other learning or teaching aids. This is a collegiate-wide initiative so peer reviewers may be from outside your home department or center.

A new collegiate process is being implemented in 2021. Below is an outline of how the new process will be implemented:

  • Before each semester, academic department administrative staff will create a spreadsheet listing the dates in that semester/session, and ask all faculty to select three slots during which they plan to be available to serve as a peer reviewer. Here is the link to the spreadsheet for summer semester; this also is sent out directly through your departments.
  • To identify a peer reviewer, faculty will review the spreadsheet to find available peer reviewers for the day and time of their teaching event. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to contact available peer reviewer(s). There may be occasions where the peer review is not at a specific time, such as with review of course materials.
  • After the peer review, reviewer(s) will complete and submit their review using the CVM Peer Review of Teaching Form in Qualtrics. To help guide peer reviewers, here are resources from Academic and Student Affairs on best practices for completing peer reviews.
  • Peer reviews completed in Qualtrics will be sent via automated email to the faculty member being reviewed, the faculty member who completed the review, and departmental administrative staff.

Peer reviews of teaching are considered confidential and will not be distributed or incorporated into annual review or promotion consideration unless faculty choose to include the review. However, the Provost has indicated that, if peer reviews of teaching are not included in promotion and tenure dossiers, additional evidence of candidates’ teaching will be required. Department administrative staff will track and have access to the review for archival and compliance purposes only.

If you have any questions or feedback about this process, please contact your departmental Administrative Director (Natalie Dillon (VPM), Hang McLaughlin (VCS), or Lesley Schmidt Sindberg (VBS)).

Peer Assessment of Teaching
Peer Review Teaching Tip 2021 (download and open with Powerpoint to hear voice over)

Teaching Portfolios

A teaching portfolio can be described as "a factual description of a professor's teaching strengths and accomplishments. It includes documents and materials that collectively suggest the scope and quality of a professor's teaching performance. The portfolio is to teaching what lists of publications, grants, and honors are to research and scholarship. As such, it allows faculty members to display their teaching accomplishments for examination by others and, in the process, it contributes to both sounder tenure and promotion decisions and the professional development of the individual faculty members" (Seldin, et al, The Teaching Portfolio). 

Common components of a teaching porfolio include:
  • A curriculum vitae
  • A personal statement (autobiographical statement or explanation of personal growth as a teacher)
  • A personal philosophy of teaching
  • Certifications and licenses
  • Awards and other recognitions
  • Examples of instructional materials including syllabi, course coordination materials, notes or other resources provided to students, assessments, unique teaching materials, and non-print educational offerings including links to videos and audio files
  • Student and peer evaluations of teaching
  • Examples of educational research (scholarship of teaching and learning - SoTL)
  • Information about achievement of specific competencies - examples may include roles of the educator in curriculum development and maintenance; activity on education-related committees at the department, collegiate, university, or external level; leadership or administrative roles in education; outreach to the larger community; interprofessional collaborations in teaching; and national and international collaborations in teaching

Student Evaluations

Students evaluate courses and individual instructors. Course evaluations are completed at the end of each semester. Students rate the courses numerically for clarity of expectations and provide an overall numerical rating. Comments are collected in a group meeting and can also be submitted anonymously by students. Numerical data and comments for each course are sent to the course coordinator and the collegiate curriculum committee.

Departments solicit formal evaluations on instructors by semester rather than by course. Evaluations will be sent out through Academic and Student Affairs. Students will be asked to evaluate those instructors with a higher teaching load only. This is to maximize the response rate and accuracy of the instructor evaluations for promotion and annual report documentation. All instructors may solicit informal evaluations during their regular class times and are encouraged to do so for formative purposes.