ERIC Number: ED337106
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Why Hasn't Peer Evaluation of College Teaching Caught On?
Menges, Robert J.
To identify reasons for peer evaluation of college teaching being more honored in rhetoric than in practice, events that occurred on the campus of a prominent public research university are described and suggestions offered as to why peer evaluation is not often practiced. A Committee on Teaching Effectiveness was appointed in response to complaints about faculty review. The Committee issued a report that called for more varied evidence about teaching performance including student ratings, student exit interviews, and peer review. When the Committee's recommendations were disseminated to the faculty, 23 faculty members wrote letters of protest raising objections on the basis of potential divisiveness, ineffectiveness among tenured faculty, academic freedom, and fundamental professorial prerogatives. A general faculty meeting was held but no action taken for lack of a quorum. It may be concluded that characteristics of faculty governance designed to prevent small, vocal groups from having too much influence may actually stifle debate and cause unnecessary divisiveness. Further, influential and outspoken faculty regard peer review of teaching as incompatible with academic freedom despite the common practice of peer review of scholarship. In addition, faculty define peer review too narrowly. Successful peer evaluation procedures should be sure to accommodate these points. Four references are included. (JB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers; Teachers; Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Based on a presentation at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago 1991.