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Teaching Observation Groups

CFE logoThe Center for Faculty Enrichment (CFE) is pleased to announce the formation of Teaching Observation Groups for Fall term, 2014-15.  Teaching Observation Groups bring together 4-5 faculty colleagues from diverse ranks and departments in a unique opportunity for pedagogical development and collegial fellowship.

Teaching Observation Group members:  

  • attend a brief workshop in best practices for teaching observation;
  • observe each other's classroom teaching and other pedagogical practices in a variety of different contexts;
  • provide each other constructive feedback in a mutually supportive setting, occasionally supplemented by refreshments courtesy of the CFE!  

The feedback provided by your colleagues is confidential; Teaching Observation Groups are bright-line separated from the faculty review process. The intent is to give and receive feedback with frankness, security and comfort. Observations made within the group are not submitted to departments or the Faculty Welfare Committee for faculty reviews.  

In the past, Teaching Observation Groups have occasionally elected to maintain the group beyond the trimester (or even beyond the academic year), and at least once have developed their experience into a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference presentation. The possibilities are up to you!   Augustana teachers at all academic ranks are welcome; indeed, a variety of perspectives from junior and senior faculty can be quite valuable for everyone involved. As is true of all CFE programming, Teaching Observation Groups are open to adjunct/ part-time/fellow/professional/lecturer faculty as well as tenured and tenure-track faculty.  

If you are interested in joining a group, please contact CFE Director Steve Klien (x7562; no later than Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 5:00 PM. Fall 2014 groups will be contacted the following day to arrange the orientation workshop. Hope to see you there!

Teaching Observation diagram

In this peer observation program, a group of four new faculty from different departments meet regularly and provide individual observational feedback for each member of the group. Each faculty member is observed by the other members of the group within a designated period of time.

In an initial group meeting, the faculty member to be observed provides basic information about the class the others will observe, including the syllabus, learning goals, relevant student information, (i.e., skill or knowledge level of student), and lesson plan(s). The faculty member also can suggest any components for which he/she would like specific observatio

nal feedback (e.g., lecture delivery, class organization, effectiveness of methodology, pace of class, student engagement).

After the observation period, the group meets again for feedback and discussion of those observations. The second part of the meeting is devoted to the faculty member who will be observed for the next week. The cycle continues until all faculty have been observed and have received feedback.

The feedback is meant to be formative and is not intended to be included in the faculty member's formal evaluation process. It is hoped, however, that faculty will be able to use this feedback to improve student learning and aspects of their teaching pedagogy. Faculty may also receive ideas from their peers about ways to assess student learning by using classroom assessment techniques for their portfolios.

If you are interested in participating in this kind of observation program, contact Steve Klien, Director of the Center for Faculty Enrichment (Olin 301/303 - x7562).