Teaching Documentation Guidelines: Final Report
TEACHING DOCUMENTATION GUIDELINES: FINAL REPORT
The University of Illinois at Chicago June, 1996
Teaching Documentation Task Force Members
Co-Chairs of the Teaching Documentation Task Force
- Roberta M. Feldman, Academic Affairs and College of Architecture and the Arts, Architecture, Co-chair of Report Subcommittee
- F. Michael Seefeldt,
College of Medicine, Department of Medical Education, Chair of Seminar
Subcommittee and Co-chair of Report Subcommittee
- Gerald Bartlett, College of Medicine at Peoria, Pathology Margaret Baumann, College of Medicine, Geriatric Medicine
- Elmer H. Burack, College of Business Administration, Management Joseph Cherian, College of Business Administration, Marketing
- Raynard J. Dooley, College of Dentistry, Pediatric Dentistry David M. France, College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
- Michael S. Gelick, College of Architecture & the Arts, Architecture, Chair of Studio/Performance Subcommittee
- Charles J. Hoch, College of Urban Planning and Policy, Urban Planning Program
- Cynthia Jameson, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Chemistry
- Joyce H. Johnson, College of Nursing, Medical Surgical Nursing, Chair of Clinical/Practicum Subcommittee and Awards Subcommittee
- Norman L. Katz, College of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutics and Pharmacodynamics
- Frederick J. Kviz, School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences
- Mary C. Lawlor, College of Associated Health Professions, Occupational Therapy
- Sharad R. Laxpati, College of Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Earnesteen Long, College of Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing
- Christian Messenger, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, English, Chair of Independent Studies Subcommittee and Orientation/Workshop Subcommittee
- Marion Miller, College of Liberal Arts and Science, History
- Darrel L. Murray, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chair of Laboratory Subcommittee
- Victor Ortiz, College of Liberal Arts And Sciences, Latin American Studies
- Nancy Siler, College of Associate Health Professions, Human Nutrition & Dietetics
- Avery Spunt, College of Pharmacy, Pharmacy Practice
- Steve Tozer, College of Education, Chair of Lecture/Discussion Subcommittee
- John Wood, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science
members, representative of all academic colleges at UIC, have contributed
to this report, first serving on the Teaching Documentation Task Force,
and then by drafting sections or editing earlier drafts. Several Task
Force members--Michael S. Gelick, Architecture, Joyce H. Johnson, Medical
Surgical Nursing, Christian Messenger, English, Darrel L. Murray, Biological
Sciences, Michael Seefeldt, Medical Education, and Steve Tozer, College
of Education, served as sub-committee chairs investing considerable
time and effort. Christian Messenger organized teaching documentation
workshops on the two sides of the campus. Joyce Johnson firmed transitional
links to emerging campus teaching awards processes, and Marion Miller,
History, provided constant assistance in idea development with several
committees. Tozer, Messenger, and Elmer Burack, Management, provided
valuable editorial assistance in final report drafts. Dean Larry Braskamp
of the College of Education, a specialist in the field of teaching evaluation,
consulted with the Task Force about documentation procedures and methods
in use at other institutions nationwide. Deans, directors and department
heads as well as faculty members took their valuable time to comment
on the Task Force's Interim Report and answer questions regarding teaching
evaluation across campus. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic
Affairs provided resources necessary to research current teaching evaluation
practices nationwide and on this campus. This enabled the Task Force
to make use of an RA, ably served first by Nilmini Wanigasooriya and
then by Charles Maponga. Susan Peverly, Council for Excellence in Teaching
and Learning, served as the staff to the Task Force, and Margie Maddox,
Medical Education provided additional staff support. Finally, staff
from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs provided
the necessary assistance to convene meetings and distribute materials.
Roberta M. Feldman F. Michael Seefeldt Co-Chairs
Table of Contents
In January 1995, David Broski, then Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, convened the Teaching Documentation Task Force to develop "alternative methods of teaching documentation for use in rewarding and strengthening teaching" at UIC. The charge of the Task Force was, in part, a response to one of the recommendations in the Standing Campus Priorities Committee's 1994 report, Preparing UIC for the 21st Century. The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs was asked to review the campus's promotion and tenure process for its rigor and fairness in properly recognizing and rewarding superior performance in teaching, research and public service, using uniform university-wide standards while recognizing disciplinary and other individual differences.
The broadly representative Task Force of 26 faculty met in the Spring 1995 to formulate an approach to teaching documentation that would meet the needs of the UIC campus. The Task Force began by considering current UIC campus and unit teaching-documentation practices, and reviewing research and exemplary practices nation wide. The Task Force concluded that comprehensive documentation of teaching using multiple sources of information is required to enhance the UIC effort to develop a comprehensive, yet flexible, procedurally proper, and trustworthy representation of faculty members' teaching contributions for personnel decisions. In October 1995, the Task Force issued the Teaching Documentation Guidelines: Interim Report offering principles and recommendations, and an array of approaches for assembling a teaching portfolio for each faculty member's use in promotion, tenure, and annual review. A bibliography and appendix to this report presented further information and illustrative instruments for collection of information from different sources and for different teaching contributions. The Interim Report was intended to serve not only as an initial, concrete tool to assist faculty and units to document teaching, but also as a stimulus and focus for broad campus discussion of future directions.
The Interim Report was disseminated and feedback requested across the campus in Fall 1995 through publication in the UIC News and distribution to the UIC Senate and several of its committees, student government, deans, directors and department heads, and relevant campus administrators. Orienting workshops were held on both sides of the campus, and presentations were given at meetings of the Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and the Race and Gender Classroom Dynamics Group. All department heads and chairs were surveyed and a smaller group was interviewed to assess their unit's teaching evaluation methods and use in personnel decisions, and reactions to the report's recommendations.
Responses to the Interim Report generally were favorable. The Senate Executive Committee and the Senate Educational Policy Committee expressed "strong support for the recommendations and the serious efforts now being made to evaluate teaching." This endorsement was presented formally, in writing, to the Senate at its April meeting (information report of the Executive Committee to the April 25, 1996 Senate). In addition to the Senate Committee on Educational Policy, Senate Committees on Academic Freedom & Tenure, Faculty Affairs, and Student Affairs also reviewed the Interim Report, and the Educational Policy Committee further asked that "the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs urge all colleges to treat this issue seriously." (Memo to the Task Force from David Bardack, Chair, Senate Executive Committee.) The Dean's Council was presented with an update of Task Force directions at a critical juncture in early 1996 as well. The CETL and the Race and Gender Classroom Dynamics Group similarly showed strong support, adding the need for formative teaching evaluation and support for teaching development.
With over 85% of department heads and chairs responding to the survey and 17 volunteer pilot-unit heads interviewed, similar substantial support was expressed for improving teaching documentation. This was found to be especially true if administration would convincingly demonstrate that the stated importance of teaching was underpinned by documentation-based decision-making to reward quality effort appropriately. Further, considerable utilization of course and faculty evaluation was found to be already in place throughout the campus, though there was great variation in both methods and extent of use. Department heads and chairs did express some concerns, especially about methodological inadequacies, the need for general criteria or consistent guidelines for cross-unit equity, and fear of labor-intensive, time-consuming requirements. Findings are discussed in greater depth in the "Teaching Documentation Task Force Report on the State of Teaching Documentation and Evaluation at UIC and Reception of the Interim Report."
In light of the responses we received, the Task Force finds support for its broad-based definition of teaching contributions and initial principles and recommendations articulated in the Interim Report, though the need to address additional, continuing issues may persist as the new system is adopted.
Teaching contribution takes many forms. Proper appreciation of its multi-faceted constitution lies at the heart of good documentation. As a matter of completeness leading to a credible and fair portrayal of faculty effort, the Task Force recommends that a full conceptualization of teaching contributions be recognized for documentation. Major components, represented in the columns of Table A, include:
a. Instruction, in all its varied settings (classroom, lab, studio, clinic, etc.) and forms (seminar, lecture, lecture-discussion, skills demonstration, independent project and study, etc.);
b. Advising, consultation, and individual supervision, at all levels, from undergraduate to post doctorate fellowship;
c. Creative production, labeled "Development of New Materials, Courses, or Teaching Methods" in Table A, covering all new teaching activities, techniques, materials, courses, parts of courses, or programs designed by faculty; and
d. Coordination or administration of courses or programs, beyond the level of usual course-teaching responsibility, and including significant committee work related to teaching needs and improvement.
1. Responsibility for Teaching Documentation
1. Responsibility for teaching documentation should be centered
in the department or academic unit.
Recommendation 1.1. Individual departments and units should develop a teaching documentation plan for assembling and evaluating the evidence of teaching contribution, which, once assembled may be termed the teaching portfolio.
Recommendation 1.2. The individual department's or unit's teaching documentation plan should specify the collaborative responsibilities of the faculty member and department or unit head in building the teaching portfolio.
2. Teaching Documentation Sources and Methods
2. Multiple sources and methods should be used to document teaching.
Recommendation 2.1. In compiling multiple sources of information, at least the following should be represented: the faculty candidate, students, faculty peers, and department or unit head.
Recommendation 2.2. Information should be collected about both teaching effort and quality to document the full range of teaching contributions.
3. Documentation of Teaching Over Time
3. Information collected over several semesters or years provides
a more trustworthy portrayal than information collected at one point
Recommendation 3. Teaching documentation information should be collected for more than one time period.
4. Summative Compared with Formative Evaluation
4. Information and processes used for personnel reward and promotion
decisions (summative evaluation) are different from those used for
teaching improvement and other developmental purposes (formative evaluation).
Recommendation 4. The two types of teaching evaluation, formative and summative, should be differentiated and the processes appropriately kept discrete when building the teaching portfolio.
5. Confidentiality of Teaching Documentation Information
5. The protection of confidential information included in the
teaching portfolio is essential to maintain the integrity of the teaching
Recommendation 5. Documents placed in the teaching portfolio should be treated with confidentiality wherever appropriate and possible.
To summarize, the Task Force recommends the assembly of a broadly-built teaching portfolio that uses consistent departmental/unit procedures, methods, criteria, and standards, and is assembled over time and in a manner which assures appropriate standards of confidentiality. A broadly-built portfolio relies on diverse methods from several sources to collect information about the full range of the faculty member's teaching contributions. Therefore, the Task Force recommends that, at a minimum, the teaching portfolio include:
- the candidate's own view of her or his teaching
- student (current and possibly former) perceptions of a faculty member's teaching
- peer (internal and possibly external to the faculty member's unit) evaluation of instruction, teaching materials, and/or outcomes
- administrator records and evaluation.
Such documentation will provide a more complete, rigorous portrayal of a faculty member's teaching contributions. Table A provides sample strategies in a broad matrix of possibilities.
The Task Force recognizes that changes in the reward and recognition of teaching at UIC will be gradual and will require ongoing campus dialogue. We anticipate that as the campus moves towards more comprehensive and trustworthy teaching documentation, questions of substantial importance will be raised. Three lingering issues, in particular, were salient in the feedback the Task Force received.
1. Promotion of Formative Evaluation and Faculty Development Support.
If the UIC learning community is committed to strengthening teaching, the efficacious use of formative evaluation, for diagnostic and developmental purposes, must also be supported. Increasingly, as faculty and administration emphasize the importance of teaching documentation and evaluation, the parallel importance of mechanisms to support teaching improvement becomes clear. Evaluation for summative personnel decision-making (with rewards, promotions, and tenure-granting as outcomes) otherwise becomes a one-sided enterprise that may divide rather than join faculty and administrators in the common effort to promote teaching excellence.
2. Level of Design and Implementation of Teaching Documentation and Evaluation.
A common tradeoff exists between assigning the department responsibility for teaching documentation, as recommended by the Task Force, and the concern for equity across units, as expressed in the feedback to the Interim Report. Moreover, given the potential burden of the task, concerns about the feasibility and efficiency of devising individualized teaching documentation plans at the departmental level were raised. Thus the degree of standardization in contrast with flexibility in documentation guidelines may continue to be an open question with a balance yet to be struck.
3. Student Government Course Evaluation System.
The Student Government course evaluation forms often have been relied upon as a method of gathering student evaluations of a faculty's teaching. The historical record of course evaluations conducted by the student government at UIC, however, is uneven, varying from years of relative efficiency to, especially recently, relative inconsistency. The regular availability of student resources and interest required for reliable, efficacious implementation has been varied at best. The Task Force did not review and has no recommendation on the use of this student-government-based system of teaching evaluation. If the campus, however, continues to rely heavily on this system, the Task Force does recommend sounder, more consistent support.
As the University of Illinois at Chicago continues to examine the entire range of what constitutes teaching excellence, it is imperative that faculty members' teaching contributions be fairly and fully recognized in a supportive, collegial atmosphere. The well planned, comprehensive documentation and evaluation of teaching, with support and practices necessary to foster full faculty participation in the process, is critical to this end. This implies not only well rounded portrayals represented in teaching portfolios, but also full realization of the variety of faculty roles and types of contribution to teaching in the learning community, provision of teaching-development support, and respected and fairly administered mechanisms for the reward of effective teaching.
ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: Table A, "Types of Teaching Documentation"