In order to improve the quality of teaching and provide the best educational experience for our students, Academy of Art University conducts formal onsite classroom observations through the Faculty Observation Program. This program can provide onsite instructors with strategies for more effective teaching that can result in better support for our students, improved retention, and a more engaging class environment.
Classroom observations are a direct way to provide instructors with feedback about their approaches and classroom activities, as well as clarify performance expectations held by AAU. They can provide an opportunity to showcase an instructor’s strengths, identify areas for improvement, and serve as a training tool by increasing one’s awareness of teaching practices to model, through the criteria provided.
The Faculty Observation Program is a formal assessment practice to evaluate classroom instruction and management, similar to classroom observations conducted at many colleges and universities. Please note that it is not related to the more informal classroom visits conduced by AAU Faculty Development, which focus on growth and support, and are not evaluative.
In the Faculty Observation Program, instructors are notified in advance that they will receive a visit from an observer. The observer will provide information to the instructor about the process and what to expect, in addition to the criteria. After the observation, a debrief conversation will be conducted to provide instructors with oral and written feedback that will outline what was done well and suggestions for improvement. Results of the observation are shared with your department director, the executive office and placed in the instructor’s file. Should significant improvements be needed, a performance improvement plan may be implemented in which training and support will be provided.
As indicated above, all instructors are provided with the criteria in advance, so that they may see firsthand, all items that the observation will focus on. The criteria are a good reference guide for classroom teaching and for meeting AAU expectations. It would be useful to use the criteria in the link below as a training tool to help you understand best practices for teaching. Refer to it when conducting your classes every week to help you focus on specifics that can make you a more effective instructor.