Peer Observation Program

The Bok Center is pleased to invite faculty teaching in the FAS to join our Peer Observation Program. This program is designed to provide faculty with a supportive community of colleagues with whom they can share experiences and materials as they develop as instructors. Every semester we sponsor several cohorts from the divisions of the FAS, including the Program in General Education; each cohort includes three faculty plus one facilitator from Bok’s senior staff. Faculty participants have the opportunity to observe, and to be observed by, the members of their cohort as they teach their courses, and to debrief their observations in a collegial environment.

Sign up for a Fall 2021 cohort

What and Why?

Peer Observation programPeer observations are formative, non-evaluative, and never constitute a judgment upon the faculty member's abilities. They are, rather, an opportunity for participants to learn about how someone standing in the role of a student experiences their teaching and their classroom environment. To use a sports analogy, such observations can provide instructors with the same benefits that athletes gain from watching footage of a competition the day after after it has ended—a chance to review with hindsight the decisions you made in the moment (and even choices that did not feel like decisions at the time), and to consider alternative possibilities for how to structure a class session.

For more on the benefits of peer observation, see Maryellen Weimer, "Peer Review Strategies that Keep the Focus on Better Teaching," Faculty Focus (2017).

Who?

The program is intended for faculty actively teaching in the College, including tenured and tenure-track faculty as well as preceptors, College Fellows, and lecturers.

We are able to facilitate several peer observation cohorts per term, each of which will include three faculty members drawn from different disciplines within the same Division (Arts and Humanities, Social Science, Science [including SEAS], and the program in General Education). This will guarantee that each instructor will have the chance to experience a diversity of teaching styles, while still ensuring that they remain relatable and analogous to at least some of the classroom styles and pedagogical goals that characterize their home disciplines.

Each cohort will also include a senior member of the Bok Center's staff to serve as a facilitator.

When and How?

Each semester the program kicks off with an introductory meeting, so that the members of each cohort can meet each other and schedule the subsequent observations and meetings.

During the semester, cohort members will rotate attending each other's courses and meet afterwards to discuss what each person thought worked well and what might be improvable. The Bok staff member assigned to each cohort will share the Center's recommended protocol for conducting peer observations, which each cohort may choose to customize to meet its particular needs.