Statement on the Evaluation of Teaching

(MUPIM 7.2/OAC 3339-7-02)

General (MUPIM 7.2.A)

Miami University stresses the importance of high-quality teaching and its impact on student learning and recognizes that there are differing professional views on the nature and utility of evaluation of instruction.  The University also recognizes that the responsibility of demonstrating teaching effectiveness rests with the faculty and the department.

Teaching is a complex and multi-faceted process, requiring multiple approaches to measurement which extend beyond student evaluations of teaching.  Much of the richness of information is not necessarily quantifiable, but relies instead on qualitative information.

Teaching Evaluation Plan (MUPIM 7.2.B)

Each department is expected to develop a teaching evaluation plan.  The major purpose of this plan is to provide a process to enhance the quality of instruction and, subsequently, student learning at Miami. When implemented, each plan should provide faculty with information useful in improving their teaching (formative) and for documenting teaching effectiveness for promotion, tenure and/or annual performance appraisals (summative).  Accordingly, candidates seeking promotion and/or tenure are urged to submit to their departments/divisions a variety of evaluation results.

Specific Guidelines for a Department’s Teaching Evaluation Plan (MUPIM 7.2.C)

  1. The teaching evaluation plan is the responsibility of the department in terms of initial development, implementation, and ongoing revision.
  2. The department’s plan shall reflect the complexity of the teaching/learning process by including multiple sources of evaluation data, including both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods.  The plan shall also address both formative and summative activities.  In addition to end-of-semester student evaluations, summative and formative activities could include, but are not limited to:  ongoing classroom assessment, peer evaluations, student portfolios, chair or program director (when appropriate) evaluations, teaching (faculty) portfolios, classroom materials, samples of exemplary classroom lessons or assignments, senior exit surveys, and alumni surveys.
  3. Departmental teaching evaluation plans shall reflect multiple models of teaching and student learning.  For example, plans should be sensitive to lecture, discussion, inquiry, or small group instruction.
  4. Formative evaluations are designed to aid in the course and teaching development by the instructor and his or her mentors and peers.  These evaluations will not be used for summative purposes, such as promotion and tenure decisions or merit salary increases.  Rather, formative evaluations are designed to provide valuable feedback for the improvement of course design and instruction, and they may be conducted by the instructor.
  5. Summative evaluations conducted at the end of a term will be retained and used as a part of the evaluation process for tenure, promotion, post-tenure review, and merit salary increases.
  6. Unofficial and unregulated student evaluations (e.g., internet evaluations) may not be used for promotion and tenure purposes or any other personnel consideration.
  7. All instructional staff are required to have all classes* evaluated by students in some formal manner that is appropriate to the specific type of course. These evaluations will constitute a concrete record of teaching effectiveness that can be used for both self-improvement and summative evaluation, and shall be constructed in such a manner as to ensure credibility and integrity:
    1. The faculty member shall not administer his or her own evaluation. In accord with departmental/divisional procedures, a third party shall announce the evaluation, distribute the evaluation forms, and submit the forms for processing.
    2. The faculty member shall not receive any evaluation results until final grades for the semester have been submitted.
    3. If additional evaluations used exclusively for faculty self-improvement are administered, the above two conditions do not apply.

*Independent studies and other such courses, as well as classes with enrollments of fewer than five (5), are generally exempt.

Waiver of Course Evaluation Reporting (MUPIM 7.2.D)

A faculty member who plans to try a new experimental or innovative teaching approach in a single course may submit a formal written request to waive the reporting of end-of-semester or term course evaluation data for that course on their annual reports or promotion and/or tenure dossiers.  The request should be submitted to the department chair or program director at least one month in advance of the first day of the semester or term when the course is to be taught. The request should include a rationale that includes a description of the new curricular or teaching approach to be implemented.  New curricular or teaching approaches must be substantive (e.g., taking an interdisciplinary approach, teaching fully online, or incorporating service learning project). The chair or director notifies in writing the respective divisional dean and the faculty member of the decision to support or deny the faculty member’s request to have the formal course evaluation reporting waived. Notification of support or denial must be made before the first week of class. Through this policy, faculty members are eligible to waive reporting of end-of-semester evaluations for one course every three years.

Digital evaluations will be conducted for formative purposes only. To further enhance the quality of the course, the faculty member is encouraged to utilize additional formative means of evaluating the course (e.g., Small Group Instructional Diagnosis, peer observation, assessment of student learning outcomes).  See 7.2.C.2 for examples.

Note (MUPIM 7.2.E)

Members of the faculty should consult with the dean of their division if they have questions relative to this policy, especially with regard to evaluation instruments.

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Revised 2017; Revised 2015

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