This policy covers teaching evaluations from assistant professor through awarding of tenure to promotion to full professor. Teaching evaluations are an important part of the promotion process. One goal of this policy is to ensure a sufficient number of written evaluations to accompany the promotion (and tenure) dossier. Peer evaluations are those conducted by fellow faculty members. Administrative evaluations are those conducted by department heads (or the dean or associate deans) or senior faculty members serving as assistant or associate department heads.
To standardize a policy for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) and to provide consistent, robust teaching evaluations for promotion dossiers, the following are EMS guidelines (pre-tenure) and approved policy (post-tenure).
Policy & Process
Within the AC23 guidelines, policy, and FAQs, there are references to “peers,” both as teaching evaluators and those serving on P&T committees. While “peer” is never clearly defined within AC23 (guidelines, policy, and FAQs), for the purposes of peer teaching evaluations and peer review committees, we in EMS define a “peer” of our tenure-track faculty as other tenured/tenure-track faculty. Similarly, we define “peer” for our non-tenure-track faculty as other non-tenure-track faculty.
For pre-tenure peer evaluations, each faculty member must receive one or two new peer teaching evaluation per review (two are encouraged) and at least one administrative evaluation per review period. It is good practice to have at least three reviews for promotion to associate professor from the last 2 years.
For each faculty member who has been granted tenure, but has not yet been promoted to full professor, at least one teaching evaluation will be conducted (can be a peer evaluation or administrator evaluation) each year. More than one can be requested by the faculty member or scheduled by the department head if they believe it to be beneficial to the faculty member.
If the faculty member is coming up for promotion in a particular year, at least one evaluation should be conducted by an administrator.
Faculty members being evaluated will receive a copy of the peer and administrative evaluations for their records along with eventual inclusion in the promotion dossier. These evaluations are to be shared with the faculty member by the department head. These reviews should be discussed as soon as possible, so that the faculty member has the most time available to make any necessary adjustments to their particular teaching style/approach.
This policy also applies to those on the teaching track (i.e. lecturers, assistant teaching professors, and associate teaching professors) going up for promotion. (Policy adopted by the EMS Executive Council on 9 February 2016)
Best Practices and Recommended Procedure
The course instructor completes the Instructor Input Form and meets with the reviewer to share that document and to convey additional contextual information about the course prior to a visit from the reviewer.
The peer reviewer visits the course. To facilitate the generation of the letter of evaluation, the reviewer may wish to use the Peer Review Guide for Face-to-Face and Hybrid Courses at Penn State. If so, the reviewer will be observing how well the instructor addresses each of the Seven Principles. The reviewer will then note the instructor’s strengths and areas for improvement for each Principle in the space provided. Additional information and background may be found in the AAAS/NSF 2012 report "Describing and Measuring Undergraduate STEM Teaching Practices."
The evaluation consists of a letter to the department head summarizing the feedback and comments from the peer review. The letter is then shared with the instructor and, as appropriate, added to the Promotion and Tenure dossier.
While reviewers may wish to make handwritten notes during the evaluation, the formal review letter should be submitted in electronic, typewritten form.
Last update: April 9, 2021