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Research Insights

Meaningful evaluation of effective and inclusive teaching through changes in policy, effective instructor development, and optimal sources of evidence, Erin Dolan

Efforts to promote diversity in undergraduate STEM education have made important inroads. Yet, these efforts remain stymied by cultural and structural factors that favor the status quo and lead to inequities and exclusion. LCC4 proposes to leverage the collective expertise and experiences of 16 institutions to establish and evaluate policies, develop and sustain instructional development, and develop and enact teaching evaluation practices that rely on multiple, valid and reliable sources of evidence. This collective effort will enable the institutions to incentivize, foster, and reward inclusive teaching and, in turn, disrupt exclusionary norms and catalyze advancement toward inclusive excellence. This proposal includes three major projects. The first aim is to establish and evaluate policies that incentivize and reward inclusive teaching, increasing its relevance to annual review, promotion, and tenure (Policy). The second aim is to develop, test, and sustain models of instructor development that widely engage faculty in using inclusive teaching practices (Instructor Development). The third aim is to develop and enact teaching evaluation practices that use multiple sources of evidence, thereby providing faculty with evidence to improve teaching over time and administrators with evidence to evaluate teaching more holistically and equitably (Sources of Evidence). These three projects will be led by small learning teams whose membership will be dynamic and driven by the needs and contexts of the institutions involved. The entire LCC4 will meet monthly online and annually in person to share progress and lessons learned. LCC4 will make decisions through dynamic governance, guided by a leadership team of four to five annually-elected individuals. LCC4 will also conduct a developmental self-study to document and share our collective journey and lessons learned. Funds from HHMI will support both institution- and LCC-level efforts. The University of Georgia (UGA) will contribute to Projects 1 and 3 by sharing our progress and lessons learned in revising institutional promotion, tenure, and annual evaluation guidelines (Policy) to require the use of multiple forms of evidence to demonstrate contributions to teaching excellence (Sources of evidence). UGA will also share the team’s experiences working with department heads to advance department-level teaching evaluation policies (Policy) as well as practices for peer and self-evaluation of teaching (Sources of evidence). UGA also aims to learn through involvement in Projects 1 and 3. Specifically, UGA aims to learn how to provide more informative student-level data regarding the effectiveness and inclusiveness of instruction (Sources of evidence), both for faculty to improve their teaching over time and for colleagues and administrators to make more equitable and evidence-based judgments about teaching quality. Second, UGA aims to learn how to build consensus around an institution-wide definition of excellent teaching that addresses both the effectiveness and inclusiveness of instruction, and to align incentive and reward systems with this definition (Policy). UGA’s team includes key individuals at all levels of the institution to carry out the work and ensure substantive, institution-wide change.

  • Funder: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Amount: $493,065
  • PI: Erin Dolan