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Recommendation 6: Establish a new system for the assessment of teaching and student mentoring by faculty

By consensus, the assessment of teaching and mentoring now in place is seriously flawed. Teaching evaluation in the Homewood schools relies almost exclusively on results from student course evaluations. Research has shown that the raw numbers provided by such evaluations can be misleading, and that the qualitative evaluations are consistently biased against female and underrepresented minority faculty.[1] Further, the responses aren’t correlated to learning outcomes.[2] It is also unclear how those results are meaningfully and consistently incorporated into promotion and tenure decisions.

Surveys of faculty, including a 2014 AAUP survey, report that faculty support assessment models unlike those we (and most universities) have in place. There are many alternative models. Northwestern developed a Continuing HE Credits (CHEC) program to foster and reward faculty commitment to high quality undergraduate teaching; credits earned for excellent teaching can be collected in various ways that support the faculty member’s scholarship and can be a positive factor in salary decisions. The University of Texas developed a Provost’s Teaching Fellows Initiative to offer a model for creating a sustainable structure to advance the teaching mission of the university.   Washington University has developed procedures that use self-assessment, peer review; student evaluations, and amply researched the field; their recommendations were supported by the AAUP 2014 Statement on Teaching Evaluation.

The VDE from across the University should be charged by the Provost with determining best practices for comprehensive and transparent assessment of teaching and faculty mentoring for all Johns Hopkins faculty. The VDE should also identify the most appropriate school-based governance bodies and methods for establishment of relevant policies and procedures. The outcome should be an unequivocal university message that the demonstrated ability of Johns Hopkins faculty to teach well is required for both promotion and tenure.

[1] Boring, A., Ottoboni, K., & Stark, P. (2016). Student evaluations of teaching (mostly) do not measure teaching effectiveness. ScienceOpen Research.

[2] Uttl, B., White, C. A., & Gonzalez, D. W. (2017). Meta-analysis of faculty’s teaching effectiveness: Student evaluation of teaching ratings and student learning are not related. Studies in Educational Evaluation54, 22-42.

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