Guidelines for Self-Evaluation of Teaching
The process of self-evaluation has three general purposes. First, it enables you to reflect on your own development as a teacher-scholar in order to become a better teacher-scholar. Second, it enables you to explain clearly to colleagues within and outside your department who will evaluate you how you understand the goals, methods, and choices that define your own professional development. Third, it prompts you to consider how and the extent to which your teaching is meeting department or program criteria for effective teaching.
The self-evaluation should demonstrate that you are thinking seriously and self-critically about pedagogy and your role in students’ intellectual growth. To this end, it is useful to consider the following questions:
- What are your goals as a teacher? If your goals have changed since the last self-evaluation, you should explain how and why they have changed.
- What strategies do you use to achieve those goals? In answering this question, you should refer to specific syllabi, assignments, or pedagogy. Examples to which you refer should be included in the materials that you submit with your self-evaluation. You do not need to provide detailed descriptions of these materials in your personal statement—additional description can be added as notes to the materials that you submit. The personal statement should highlight the role these materials play in helping you achieve your goals. (See below for additional guidance on submitting teaching materials.)
- How do you assess your progress towards achieving your goals? What is your plan to make progress on goals not yet achieved? How successful were the plans that you laid out in a previous self-evaluation? To the extent that you have encountered any problems in your teaching, the personal statement is a good place to acknowledge them and articulate a plan for addressing them. You should discuss how you solicited, and responded to, formative feedback from students throughout the term. You might also discuss the feedback you received from peers through the classroom observation and other peer review processes.
- How do the goals you articulate and your progress in achieving those goals align with departmental goals and the departmental guidelines on teaching? Your self-evaluation offers an opportunity for you to tell your own story about your teaching and to contribute to defining the terms of your colleagues’ assessment of your performance. Answering this overarching question is particularly important in personal statements for reappointment, tenure, and promotion.
The personal statement will explain your teaching goals, strategies, and outcomes. The teaching materials you submit will provide evidence of the broader themes discussed in your personal statement and evidence of your effectiveness as a teacher. While the personal statement should put these materials in context, you may wish to annotate some items with a brief note that gives further details about their use and the way in which they are linked to the goals you have articulated in your personal statement.
When being reviewed for reappointment, tenure, or promotion, you should include syllabi and major assignments for the most recent iteration of every course that you have taught. You might also consider including some of the following materials:
- Descriptions of activities students undertake within and outside the classroom
- Anonymized student work with your feedback on it
- A statement of any work you have completed on curriculum development. This could include a new course that you have developed that adds to the curriculum of your department/program or contributions that you have made to curricular reform efforts at the department/program or College level.
- A statement of teaching development efforts such as attending teaching workshops, participating in teaching circles, and participation in peer review (including both having your courses observed and observing others’ courses; having your teaching materials reviewed and reviewing others’ teaching materials)
- Evidence of student development in your courses (e.g., beginning of semester work vs. end of semester). All examples of student work should be anonymized.
As you select materials to submit with your personal statement, please keep in mind that you only need to submit representative materials, not an exhaustive inventory. Do not include any materials that you do not either discuss in your personal statement or link explicitly with an annotation to the goals that you articulate in your personal statement. Remember that you are both telling a story and making an argument, and that stories and arguments can be lost in the clutter of too much information. Less can be more.
Personal statements written for periodic reviews should focus on developments in teaching that occurred since the last review. Personal statements for reappointment, tenure, and promotion should take a longer-term perspective and address developments in teaching only since the date of hire or the last major personnel review. A self-reflection for the purposes of personnel review should provide the main conclusions of your self-evaluation. Although the length of personal statements will vary based on individual circumstances, general guidelines for length are that a discussion of teaching for a periodic review might be approximately one single-spaced page and a discussion of teaching for reappointment, tenure or promotion might be approximately 3 single-spaced pages.
It is often helpful to have a colleague read and comment on your personal statement before you submit it. However, you should not ask a colleague to comment on drafts of your personal statement if that colleague will also be responsible for evaluating you.
Personal statements can provide insight into an individual’s effectiveness as a teacher. Evaluators should use personal statements to determine the extent to which an individual engages in practices that meet the criteria that are articulated in department or program guidelines.
Evaluators can use personal statements and teaching materials, in conjunction with evidence from student letters and peer observations/reviews, to understand and evaluate
- An individual’s goals for their teaching and the strategies that the individual uses to achieve those goals,
- Pedagogical approaches as evidenced in the design of syllabi or assignments that the individual chooses to highlight,
- How an individual responds to challenges in their teaching, and
- How an individual envisions their future development as a teacher.
- Evaluators should provide general guidance to those writing personal statements, but to maintain integrity of the evaluation process, they should not provide detailed comments on drafts.
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