The Bok Center is pleased to invite junior faculty teaching in the FAS to join our new Peer Observation Program. This program is designed to provide early-career faculty with a supportive community of colleagues with whom they can share experiences and materials as they develop as instructors. Every semester we sponsor six cohorts (two per each division of the FAS), each of which includes three junior 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 over lunch, coffee, or dinner organized by the Bok Center. We also provide funds with which participants may purchase books on pedagogy and/or procure teaching-related materials for an experiment they wish to try in their courses.
What and Why?
The peer observations of teaching at the core of this program 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 another observer—perhaps even one standing in the role of a student—experiences their teaching and their classroom environment. To use a sports analogy, such observations can serve the same purpose as watching footage of a competition after the competition 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.
The program is intended for junior faculty actively teaching in the College, though preceptors, College Fellows, and lecturers are welcome to apply.
Currently we host six 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, and Science [including SEAS]). 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 a few days before the start of term, so that all four members of each cohort can meet each other and schedule the subsequent observations and meetings before the semester begins in earnest.
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.
The Bok Center will make available funds which participants may use to pay for lunch, coffee, or dinner after each class visit, to purchase books on pedagogy, and/or to procure teaching-related materials for an experiment they wish to try in their courses.