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Creating a System for Peer Observation of Teaching

The goal of peer observation of teaching is to enhance, refine and improve classroom instruction.  This requires a focus not only on what the faculty member says and does but also on the ways in which students take in, process and apply information and course concepts. Peer observation of teaching can be a component of a broader faculty mentoring program or viewed as a separate process that emphasizes classroom instruction. 


While some teaching skills can be directly observed, others may be best explored through one-to-one conversations that focus on crafting a course syllabus, refining one’s philosophy of teaching and creating alignment between course goals, student learning outcomes and assessment of student competencies.Providing faculty with opportunities to observe other instructors can also be a valuable way to develop new strategies and approaches to teaching.


We created this handbook to offer ways in which peer observers/mentors can provide meaningful feedback to faculty on instructional strategies, student engagement, assessment and learning. Given the diversity of our curriculum, approaches to teaching and individual departmental goals, our focus in this handbook is on broad domains of teaching, with varied examples of possible teaching strategies.Some examples are most applicable to particular kinds of classroom environments, Similarly, some examples may be a good fit for certain disciplines but not others. What is presented here is an overarching model of the peer observation process; each department or program will naturally modify the process to meet its own goals.