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Does Teaching Matter? Assessing Teaching for Tenure at Canadian Universities . Pamela S. Gravestock, PhD Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation University of Toronto p.gravestock@utoronto.ca. Overview. Research Questions & Methodology Key Findings Conclusions

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does teaching matter assessing teaching for tenure at canadian universities
Does Teaching Matter? Assessing Teaching for Tenure at Canadian Universities

Pamela S. Gravestock, PhD

Associate Director,

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation

University of Toronto

p.gravestock@utoronto.ca

overview
Overview
  • Research Questions & Methodology
  • Key Findings
  • Conclusions
  • Recommendations
slide3

“[T]he principal expression of academic values about faculty work lies in the promotion and tenure decisions. It is here rather than in institutional rhetoric that the faculty seek clues about the value of different aspects of their work. It is here that productivity is most meaningfully defined and evaluated” (p. 27).

Fairweather, J.S. (2002). The Mythologies of Faculty Productivity. Implications for Institutional Policy and Decision-Making. Journal of Higher Education, 73(1), 26-48.

research questions methodology
Research Questions & Methodology

Question: How can teaching in higher education most effectively and comprehensively be evaluated, according to the literature?

Methodology: Literature review

comprehensive integrated aligned evaluation systems framework for analysis
Comprehensive, integrated & aligned evaluation systems: Framework for analysis
  • Establish evaluation goals and purpose that align with institutional mandates.
  • Provide a clear understanding of faculty responsibilities.
  • Define teaching effectiveness.
comprehensive integrated aligned evaluation systems framework for analysis cont
Comprehensive, integrated & aligned evaluation systems: Framework for analysis (cont’)
  • Identify criteria for the evaluation of faculty work and articulate the related standards of performance.
  • Use a range of evaluation mechanisms and seek multiple forms of evidence.
comprehensive integrated aligned evaluation systems framework for analysis cont1
Comprehensive, integrated & aligned evaluation systems: Framework for analysis (cont’)
  • Establish clear and transparent governance structures.
  • Provide sufficient support and/or training for all involved in the review process.
  • Ensure effective and consistent communication to all relevant constituents.
research questions methodology1
Research Questions & Methodology

Question: What role does the evaluation of teaching play in current tenure policies at Canadian universities?

Question: To what extent are the recommendations emerging from the current literature on teaching and teaching evaluation reflected in Canadian tenure policies?

Methodology: Policy review

methodology
Methodology
      • 8 key components = framework for analysis
  • Study included:
    • 46 Canadian universities
    • 80 institutional documents (collective agreements, tenure policies, guidelines, and related documents) – all publicly accessible
key findings
Key Findings
  • Goals & Purpose of Tenure
  • Faculty roles and responsibilities:
    • Teaching: Set of activities (typically)
    • Research: Scholarly activity/scholarship and dissemination of results
    • Service: Service to the institution, community, discipline, professional organization , profession
key findings evaluation criteria
Key Findings: Evaluation Criteria
  • Primary Criteria:
    • Teaching and Research
  • Teaching is the primary criterion at 1 institution:
    • Bishop’s
  • Tenure is never granted on service alone
key findings faculty work performance standards
Key Findings - Faculty Work: Performance Standards
  • 33 different terms used to describe standards of performance for faculty work
performance standards
Performance Standards

Effectiveness/effective, Demonstrated effectiveness, Documented effectiveness, Established effectiveness, High degree of effectiveness, Quality and effectiveness, Sustained satisfactory and effective, Record of performance , Good performance, Acceptable performance, Reasonable performance, Satisfactory performance, Strong performance, High standard of performance, Superior performance, Teaching excellence, Satisfactory quality, Good quality, High quality, Exceptional quality, Demonstrated superiority, Satisfactory record, Strong record of achievement, Sufficiently strong record, Competence, Quality of competence, Demonstrated competence and responsibility, Scholarly competence, Meets expectations, Good teacher committed to academic and pedagogical excellence, Success, Promise, Sustained commitment

key findings sources mechanisms of evaluation
Key Findings: Sources & Mechanisms of Evaluation

* Evidence from this source was required, recommended or optional

key findings case studies
Key Findings: Case Studies
  • Alberta, York, Nipissing, Saskatchewan & British Columbia
  • Most extensive reflection of recommendations from the literature in policies from these 5 institutions
key findings case studies1
Key Findings: Case Studies
  • Clear articulation of institutional expectations for teaching – outlining criteria, faculty roles and responsibilities and standards of performance
  • Definitions of teaching effectiveness (holistic; teacher-scholar)
  • Broad range of evaluation mechanisms
  • Comprehensive documentation
  • Clear description of decision-making processes
summary of findings
Summary of Findings
  • Tenure and the evaluation of teaching are institution-specific
  • Tenure policies are not the sole source of perceptions about the undervaluing of teaching
  • Tenure policies reflect the recommendations from the literature inconsistently
  • Many institutional policies could be vastly improved
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Ensure evaluation measures are aligned with realities and diversity of academic work
  • Improve the administration of policies
  • Establish clear and transparent communication strategies
  • Engage members of the university community
  • Recognize and celebrate teaching contributions
slide27

“Evaluation will take place, even in the absence of solid evidence, based on such sources as hearsay and gossip. And teaching is such an important activity for universities that we would be well advised to make the process as informed an helpful as possible.”

(Knapper, 2001)