Documenting Teaching Effectiveness

Why Document Teaching Effectiveness:

"The University community believes that excellence in teaching and excellence in research go hand in hand, and as a matter of policy teaching and research are both essential duties of every faculty member. Promotion depends upon the demonstration of excellence in both areas.

The essential question in the evaluation of teaching is whether the candidate contributes in an effective, creative, and appropriate way to the teaching mission of the department. Attention should be paid to the varieties of demands placed on instructors and the range of teaching activities called for in various disciplines and at various levels. It is imperative that clear documentation of ability in teaching be included in all advancement and promotion cases. Incomplete advancement or promotion cases will be returned to the originating department. While no two cases will be alike, there are several recurring themes which may be addressed in the preparation of the teaching component and several useful techniques for verifying performance in these areas."

1987 Policy for Evaluation of Teaching (for Advancement and Promotion)

Sources and Methods for Documenting Teaching Effectiveness:

“Under no circumstances will a tenure commitment be made unless there is clear documentation of ability and diligence in the teaching role.” This statement from the University of California Academic Personnel Manual is a reminder of how important good teaching is at Berkeley. For an understanding of the kinds of evidence you should gather to demonstrate your proficiency in teaching, we suggest both the relevant part of the Personnel Manual as well as the Berkeley campus Policy for the Evaluation of Teaching (1987). Department Chairs and School/College Deans can draw on multiple forms of evidence in composing letters of recommendation in support of a promotion case. 

Traditionally, end of semester student course evaluations have been the primary focus for evaluations of teaching. To provide the broadest picture possible of your teaching, you may want to include other sources of information such as:

  • Student Evaluation (end-of-course)
  • Peer Observation of Course Instruction
  • Teaching Statement/Statement of Teaching Philosophy. Some departments require these as part of your submission for merit and promotion cases. Whether or not you’re asked for such a statement, it’s to your benefit—and ultimately your students’ benefit—if you have attempted to articulate your philosophy. As with Teaching Portfolios/Dossiers, the Teaching Philosophy can take many different forms. For a wide variety of examples, we suggest reading through some of the statements from Distinguished Teaching Award recipients.
  • Instructional Improvement Efforts. You may want to include information on any of the following in your teaching portfolio: Grants you have received to improve one of your courses;
    • Peer observation by CTL consultant;
    • Videotape(s) of your teaching used to analyze your teaching;
    • Workshops or seminars attended related to teaching and instructional improvement;
    • Consultations with a CTL consultant on teaching issues;
    • Any concrete changes you’ve made to your courses as a result of these efforts.
  • Teaching Dossier. This compilation of materials gathers in one place information about your teaching (e.g., syllabus, exams, exercises, samples of graded student work). Whether or not you choose to include an entire dossier as part of your promotion case, the dossier can be an excellent way for you to personally reflect on your teaching.

If you would like help, or have questions, about any of the sources and methods mentioned above, email sends e-mail) with "Evaluating Your Course" in the subject line.