Faculty Observation Program
Dear Onsite Faculty,
In order to improve the quality of teaching at AAU and provide the best educational experience for our students, we are continuing our Faculty Observation Program this semester. This program can provide instructors with teaching strategies that can result in better support for students, improved retention and a more engaging class environment.
Classroom observations are a direct way to provide instructors with feedback about teaching approaches and activities, as well as clarify expectations held by AAU. They provide an opportunity to showcase your strengths, identify areas for improvement, and serve as a training tool by increasing your awareness of teaching practices to model.
The Faculty Observation Program is a formal assessment practice, similar to observations conducted at many colleges and universities.
With this in mind, please use the teaching criteria linked at the bottom of this page as a reference guide to help you with classroom teaching, management, and for meeting AAU expectations. The criteria will be used for assessment during the observations, however please also refer to it when teaching your classes every week. Use it as a training tool to help you focus on specifics that can make you a more effective instructor.
(Please note that instructors teaching for the first time at AAU receive classroom visits from teaching coaches. During that time, they are provided with feedback for training purposes. That process is not part of the Faculty Observation Program.)
The observation program is outlined as follows:
- Pre-Observation Outreach: Instructors being reviewed this semester can expect to receive an email from a member of the Faculty Evaluation and Coaching department who will be conducting the observation. The observer will introduce himself/herself, and will want to find out if there are times the class will be away on field trips, taking exams, etc. so as to avoid coming at those times. The observer will want to know if there are any questions, or if clarification is needed related to the AAU Onsite Teaching Criteria (attached to this email).
- Classroom Observation: A specific date for the observation will not be set. Instructors being observed can expect it to take place within the semester they are contacted. During the visit, observers will stay for a few hours to review classroom practices according to the AAU Onsite Teaching Criteria. Observers will generally attend classes once; however, it is possible to return on other occasions in order to see a broader range of activities if needed. The observer is not to participate in the class and instructors are asked to conduct the class as planned.
- Post Observation Conversation: Following the observation, a debriefing will be conducted to provide feedback. At that time, the instructor will be provided with oral and written feedback that will outline what was done effectively and coaching strategies that can help make improvements.
- Observation results are filed and communicated to the department director and the executive office.
- Performance Improvement Plan: If significant improvements are needed, a performance improvement plan will be implemented. During that time, the instructor will receive additional coaching for assistance in making the necessary improvements. A second observation may be conducted after the coaching period to determine improvement. Human Resources will also be notified and may provide support during this process.
Our strength as a university is due to the professional artists that choose to come and work with our students. Thank you being part of their experience and for the positive impact you have had. It is our hope that through the Faculty Observation process, we foster communication with our instructors that enables them to implement more effective teaching practices, and create more productive classroom experiences for our students.
Faculty Evaluation and Coaching