"This program is a promising opportunity for faculty development. Whether instructors want to improve their interaction with students, their use of technology, or their communication style, faculty members should consider the Teaching Partners program."
Participating in classroom observation, both as an observer and as the one being observed, can be a helpful practice for instructors at all stages of their careers.
Teaching Partners is a voluntary, confidential opportunity for instructors who want to enhance their teaching through peer observation and feedback. Trained faculty mentors and instructional designers meet with interested instructors in a pre-observation meeting, observation of a class session, and post-observation follow-up meeting. Individualized feedback is provided in a collegial atmosphere based on questions or concerns identified by the instructor being observed. All observations will issue feedback based on instructor knowledge, organization, skills and techniques, communication, and student performance. The program is built on principles of respect, collegiality, and mutual sharing that benefit both parties.
The teaching partners program is a formative assessment for faculty who wish to participate. It should NEVER be used for evaluations of teacher effectiveness for purposes of tenure and promotion!
Not ready to participate in Teaching Partners? Consider observing the class of a colleague.
The program is for any full-time, part-time, tenure-track, non-tenure track or tenured instructor at Missouri S&T who wants to enhance their teaching expertise through classroom observation and feedback. At this time in the program's development, we are not able to accept GTAs into the program.
An instructor who applies to the program will be contacted by a faculty teaching partner to set up a time to meet. The pre-observation meeting is designed to help instructors articulate what they are doing well and what issues they would like to see addressed. The observation is then scheduled during a regular class time, as well as a post-observation meeting, where mentors share from their perspective and offer helpful resources, if needed.
Yes, this service is completely optional, voluntary and confidential. The process must be initiated by the instructor, and results of the observation will only be shared with the instructor. If desired, results of the observations can be put in a more formalized report and used in a portfolio or dossier, but that is up to the instructor’s discretion.
The number of observations is up to the participants and their schedules. It is recommended to have at least two observations, although that can be stretched over a year rather than squeezed into a semester, if necessary.
There is an option of observing the classrooms of S&T faculty who have been recognized for their outstanding teaching. Go to the Observe the Class of a Colleague page to find out about faculty who welcome other instructors to observe their classrooms.
Yes! According to Teaching Partners participant and mentor Dr. Mary Ann Koen, "the Teaching Partners program thru CAFE (both as an observer and as the one being observed) is such an enlightening program. Getting a fresh perspective on how your own class is structured is very helpful and conducive to making creative adjustments. The opportunity to observe a colleague from our own institution leads to insight on different approaches that are well suited to our unique student body. The CAFE group was very helpful throughout this process as always!"
Go to Teaching Partners Literature Review about the value of faculty peer mentoring in higher education.