Campus and Office of the President Policies on Evaluating Teaching

September 18, 1987


Re: Policy for Evaluation of Teaching (for Advancement and Promotion)

Last year the Committee on Budget and Interdepartmental Relations asked the Senate Committee on Teaching to formulate a comprehensive policy with guidelines for how the assessment of teaching should be presented in recommendations for faculty promotion or advancement. The Committee on Teaching conducted a review, which included among other things invoking the aid of faculty who have received the Distinguished Teaching Awards.

Their statement, "Policy for the Evaluation of Teaching (for Advancement and Promotion)" and its attachment, "Recommendations for Administering and Analyzing Student Course Evaluations," are enclosed. Please distribute these documents to your respective teaching units. The Policy has the full endorsement of the Committee on Budget and Interdepartmental Relations and unit heads are urged to follow it as closely as possible.

C. Judson King 
Provost, Professional Schools and Colleges



Committee on Teaching

April, 1987

I. Criteria for Advancement Promotion

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.

II. Aspects of Teaching to be Evaluated

Teaching plays a major role in decisions regarding advancement and promotion. Therefore, an explicit discussion of the teaching performance of a faculty member is essential. The following components of teaching may be evaluated in a personnel review decision.

Design and redesign of courses. Does the course "work"? Are the course objectives reasonable? Are course requirements clearly stated and communicated to students? Is the course continuously updated to reflect recent developments in the field?

Presentation of material. Does the teacher convey enthusiasm for the subject matter? Does the teacher present material with logic and force, arousing curiosity in beginning students and stimulating advanced students to creative work?

Command of the subject. Is the instructor knowledgeable in the subject matter of the courses he or she teaches? Does the instructor engage in reading or research in the subject matter of the course in order to keep up to date with current research developments?

Contributions to curriculum and instruction. Has the teacher developed instructional materials, such as textbooks, videotapes, computer courseware, slides, publications related to teaching, or the like? In what ways has the teacher participated in departmental or campus curriculum design or development efforts?

Directing student research. How active is the teacher in guiding the research projects of graduate and undergraduate students?

Advising. What formal advising duties or informal advising has the teacher undertaken? How much time does the teacher spend consulting with students?

Guiding and supervising Graduate Student Instructors. To what extent has the teacher prepared, trained, and supervised graduate student instructors?

III. Sources and Methods for Evaluating Teaching

Each department or teaching unit can be expected to have a unique culture which supports and encourages teaching excellence and which will have its own traditions of teaching evaluation that serve to define and reinforce that culture. Departments should work to improve their evaluation methods and seek to make them supportive and encouraging rather than investigative or punitive. The following is a list of sources of information for evaluating teaching; departments will choose those most appropriate for the particular case.

The candidate's faculty colleagues who have appropriate expertise in the discipline are best able to evaluate the scholarship that informs the design and organization of courses and curriculum, the choice or development of texts and other instructional materials (syllabus, handouts, etc.), the nature of examinations and assignments, and so on.

Current students can comment on an instructor's ability to communicate clearly, the extent and level of the instructor's course preparation, whether the instructor makes effective use of class time, how sensitive and responsive the instructor is to difficulties students may be having in the course, the workload, and so on. Students should not be used to judge the adequacy, relevance, and timeliness of the course content nor the breadth of the instructor's knowledge and scholarship.

Former students can comment on the long-term effectiveness of the candidate's teaching: for example, the role of the instructor's courses in preparing the student for advanced study or work in the discipline.

If the candidate teaches with Graduate Student Instructors, these students can often comment on the teachers role and effectiveness in the classroom and in preparing, training, supervising and evaluating GSIs.

Self-evaluations can be both descriptive and evaluative and may address such issues as teaching goals and philosophy, involvement in curriculum projects, efforts to improve teaching, and so on.

Various methods can be used to gather data from these sources: rating forms or detailed questionnaires, written appraisals (letters or responses to open-ended questions on rating forms), interviews, observations, and so on. Combining sources and methods, it is possible to collect a variety of information about a faculty member's teaching. For example, colleagues can evaluate instructional materials or observe an instructor's classroom teaching. Students can complete evaluation forms at the end of a course, participate in individual or group interviews, or fill out surveys when they graduate.

IV. The Teaching Dossier

A teaching dossier should include the following items:

Departmental letter summarizing the candidate's teaching. A carefully prepared Chair's letter is an essential part of a dossier. An effective letter from the chair will describe departmental teaching evaluation procedures, the nature and quality of a candidate's teaching, and the evidence upon which this evaluation is based.

Departmental ad hoc committee report for mid-career review, promotion to tenure, and promotion to professor. For these types of reviews, departments are encouraged to convene an ad hoc committee (two or more faculty members) to examine evaluation data and assess a candidate's teaching performance. The ad hoc committee's report should be included in the dossier.

Candidate's statement. It is helpful if candidates provide a written statement of their teaching approach, including the goals of specific courses and choices of teaching strategies. They may also comment about their efforts to improve instruction and respond to criticisms of their teaching performance made by the department chair and by students on end-of-course evaluations.

Description of courses taught. A list of courses by course number and enrollment should be included. The candidate may wish to comment on the courses indicating which are new, team taught, and so on.

Description of student research directed. Candidates may want to describe their role in directing senior theses, masters and doctoral studies, and postdoctoral scholars. The number of graduate students successfully completing degree work could also be included (indicate the date each student began graduate school).

Peer evaluation. Reports or letters about the candidate's teaching performance from faculty colleagues familiar with the content could be included in the dossier. The letters should cite the basis and evidence for judgments made (observation, review of instructional materials, and so on).

Student evaluation. Some form of student evaluation data (e.g., end-of-semester student ratings) for each different course taught in the period under review should be presented. The data should include both summaries of student evaluations of teaching and sufficient "raw" data (i.e., representative student comments) to allow the reviewers to see the candidate's teaching from the students' point of view. In addition, the dossier can include letters from current students or summaries of interviews.

Alumni evaluation. Former students, as well as Graduate Student Instructors (if the candidate teaches with GSIs), can provide information about the candidate's teaching performance. Dossiers may include letters, results of group interviews, or summaries of surveys of alumni that specifically address the candidate's teaching.

V. Resources for Evaluating Teaching

The Center for Teaching and Learning, under the auspices of the Committee on Teaching, has prepared a handbook that suggests a range of useful methods and procedures for evaluating teaching.

University of California

Academic Personnel Manual


Review and Appraisal Committees

Rev. 7/1/05 Page 4-5

The criteria set forth below are intended to serve as guides for minimum  standards in judging the candidate, not to set boundaries to exclude other  elements of performance that may be considered.   

(1) Teaching — Clearly demonstrated evidence of high quality in teaching is  an essential criterion for appointment, advancement, or promotion.  Under  no circumstances will a tenure commitment be made unless there is clear  documentation of ability and diligence in the teaching role.  In judging the  effectiveness of a candidate’s teaching, the committee should consider  such points as the following:  the candidate’s command of the subject;  continuous growth in the subject field; ability to organize material and to  present it with force and logic; capacity to awaken in students an  awareness of the relationship of the subject to other fields of knowledge;  fostering of student independence and capability to reason; spirit and  enthusiasm which vitalize the candidate’s learning and teaching; ability to  arouse curiosity in beginning students, to encourage high standards, and to  stimulate advanced students to creative work; personal attributes as they  affect teaching and students; extent and skill of the candidate’s  participation in the general guidance, mentoring, and advising of students;  effectiveness in creating an academic environment that is open and  encouraging to all students, including development of particularly  effective strategies for the educational advancement of students in various  underrepresented groups.  The committee should pay due attention to the  variety of demands placed on instructors by the types of teaching called  for in various disciplines and at various levels, and should judge the total  performance of the candidate with proper reference to assigned teaching  responsibilities.  The committee should clearly indicate the sources of  evidence on which its appraisal of teaching competence has been based.  In those exceptional cases when no such evidence is available, the  candidate’s potentialities as a teacher may be indicated in closely  analogous activities.  In preparing its recommendation, the review  committee should keep in mind that a redacted copy of its report may be an important means of informing the candidate of the evaluation of his or  her teaching and of the basis for that evaluation.  It is the responsibility of the department chair to submit meaningful  statements, accompanied by evidence, of the candidate’s teaching  effectiveness at lower-division, upper-division, and graduate levels of  instruction.  More than one kind of evidence shall accompany each  review file.  Among significant types of evidence of teaching  effectiveness are the following:  (a) opinions of other faculty members  knowledgeable in the candidate’s field, particularly if based on class  visitations, on attendance at public lectures or lectures before professional  societies given by the candidate, or on the performance of students in  courses taught by the candidate that are prerequisite to those of the  informant; (b) opinions of students; (c) opinions of graduates who have  achieved notable professional success since leaving the University;  (d) number and caliber of students guided in research by the candidate and  of those attracted to the campus by the candidate’s repute as a teacher; and  (e) development of new and effective techniques of instruction, including  techniques that meet the needs of students from groups that are  underrepresented in the field of instruction.  

All cases for advancement and promotion normally will include:  (a) evaluations and comments solicited from students for most, if not all,  courses taught since the candidate’s last review; (b) a quarter-by-quarter  or semester-by-semester enumeration of the number and types of courses  and tutorials taught since the candidate’s last review; (c) their level;  (d) their enrollments; (e) the percentage of students represented by  student course evaluations for each course; (f) brief explanations for  abnormal course loads; (g) identification of any new courses taught or of  old courses when there was substantial reorganization of approach or  content; (h) notice of any awards or formal mentions for distinguished  teaching; (i) when the faculty member under review wishes, a self-  evaluation of his or her teaching; and (j) evaluation by other faculty  members of teaching effectiveness.  When any of the information  specified in this paragraph is not provided, the department chair will  include an explanation for that omission in the candidate’s dossier.  If  such information is not included with the letter of recommendation and  its absence is not adequately accounted for, it is the review committee  chair’s responsibility to request it through the Chancellor.