Peer Review and Evaluation of Teaching

UO Senate legislation of 1996 and the 2015-2018 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the university and the United Academics require periodic peer review and evaluation of teaching for all faculty. The legislation also established criteria and procedures for conducting these reviews and evaluations. These criteria and procedures are equally relevant to the peer review and evaluation of teaching for tenure-related faculty and instructional non-tenure-track faculty. 

Peer review of teaching is the written assessment of a class observation and the contextual material informing that observation (e.g., syllabus, faculty member’s self-assessment, other framing information provided by the faculty member). Peer reviews are an opportunity to support and improve faculty teaching efforts, and to assess how individual teaching choices reflect the department’s curriculum and goals.

Evaluation of teaching is done for promotion and/or tenure, contract renewal or merit raises, and involves multiple windows into a faculty member’s teaching including: peer review, student evaluation and self-assessment, narratives or inventories.

Departments are urged to adopt procedures that protect both the formative and summative nature of the separate peer review and evaluation of teaching processes.

Recommended Principles

  • A key purpose of the peer review should be fostering collegial, open exchange around faculty members’ development as teachers.
  • The peer review should consider and encourage the faculty member’s efforts to design for and foster an inclusive classroom environment. Examples of which are providedin TEP’s resources on inclusive teaching , and the Division of Equity and Inclusion’s examples of contributions to institutional equity and inclusion .
  • Whenever teaching is being evaluated it is especially important that student evaluations of teaching are not used as a standalone indicator of teaching quality for any official university purpose. See the TEP statement on Student Evaluation of Teaching . Instead, evaluation of teaching should include combined input from peers, students and the faculty members themselves.
  • Departments should develop their own criteria for peer review with broad faculty participation. Criteria should encourage faculty to incorporate teaching practices consistent with research on how students learn and be informed by each department’s unique learning objectives and vision. Samples of review and evaluation procedures are available on the TEP website .
  • The university’s efforts to articulate what’s important about a UO education (e.g., the strategic framework  or mission statement  are useful source texts for departments.
  • Departments should discuss these criteria periodically to ensure all members have a shared sense of their meaning and opportunity to revise them to reflect new and evolving research, campus contexts, and faculty perspectives.
  • In addition to a shared set of criteria and peer review procedures, the department’s written peer review documents (e.g., observation instrument, self-assessment, and report) should follow a similar format or template, and should be made available to the faculty member undergoing review.
  • Spontaneous class visits for the purpose of peer review are discouraged. It is preferred to give at least one week advance notice prior to the review, and this time frame should be described in the NTTF & TTF peer review and promotion policies.
  • For evaluation periods of more than one year, courses to be peer reviewed should be a mix of lower division, upper-division, and/or graduate-level courses chosen by the unit head or supervisor in consultation with the faculty member. 
  • Peer reviewers of tenure-track faculty should be tenured and of the same or higher academic rank than the faculty member being reviewed. The reviewers should be chosen by the unit head or supervisor in consultation with the faculty member. Peer reviewers of non-tenure-track faculty are recommended to be at the same or a higher rank than the faculty member being reviewed, and should be chosen by the unit head or supervisor.

Recordkeeping

  • A copy of the written peer review should be provided to the faculty being reviewed prior to placement in their personnel file.
  • The faculty being reviewed should be able to provide corrections to any factual errors in the written peer review. Then, one copy of the signed and dated written peer review shall be placed in the permanent personnel file of the faculty being reviewed. 
  • The faculty being reviewed may submit a response to the written peer review to also be placed in their permanent personnel file.
  • All written peer reviews (and any responses) shall be included in the evaluation of a faculty member’s teaching for the purpose of contract renewal, promotion and/or tenure, and are to be carefully reviewed at the department and school/college level. 

Frequency of Peer Review of Teaching

  • Each career non-tenure-track instructional faculty member is expected to undergo at least one peer review of teaching per contract period. 
  • Each untenured tenure-track faculty member must have at least one peer review before the mid-term review, which must be included in the faculty member’s file and contribute to the overall evaluation of teaching for the mid-term review.
  • Each tenure-track faculty member must have at least one peer review during each of the three years preceding the faculty member’s promotion and tenure review. 
  • Each tenured faculty member at the rank of associate professor must have at least one peer review every other year until promotion to full professor.
  • Each tenured faculty member at the rank of full professor must have at least one peer review every three years.