Class Visits – Constructive Collegial Feedback or Judgement Time?

One of my tasks in my current role is to visit faculty members, particularly new faculty members, when they are teaching.  Unfortunately class visits are often misinterpreted for class evaluations and there are clear differences.  The table below illustrates some of these differences.

My Post (1)

If class visits are more on the observation side in your institution, here are some tips to help faculty members be more open to your visit.

  • In the pre-visit discussion, ask the faculty member if there are one or two things that they would like you to focus on during the visit (i.e. lesson organization, interaction with students).
  • Decide in advance how the faculty member will announce your presence (or not at all in some cases).
  • Set up a time (as close as possible to the visit date) to have a discussion.  Bring your initial feedback notes, but be open to listening and co-creating a final feedback document.
  • Terminology matters here!  I like to use Observable Strengths for the positives and Opportunities to Consider for areas that might need some work.  When that is the case, I always provide suggestions and offer resources.

While class visits can be intimidating for faculty members, the idea of being open to feedback (even if you don’t agree with it!) can be more important than the actual feedback itself.


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