Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I let my students know that they will be observed?
A: We recommend that you let students know that there will be a visitor in class so they aren’t distracted. It is best to let students know about the observation in a class meeting prior to when the observation will take place. Tell students (1) that feedback is an important part of learning and that you are committed to enhancing your teaching, (2) to try to ignore the observer as best as they can, and (3) that what they say and do will not be shared with others.
Q: How will my participation in this program affect my reappointment, tenure, or promotion?
A: This program is completely independent of the faculty review process. Any information from participation in this program will not be provided to review committees. The faculty member being observed is in control over whether and how to share details about the observation and feedback in their review materials. The person doing the observing should not submit a letter on behalf of the faculty member being observed without their consent.
Q: My dean/chair suggested to me that I should take advantage of this program. Does that mean that there are concerns about my teaching?
A: Peer observations of teaching should be a natural part of our work as faculty members. This program is not designed to “remediate” instructors who are lacking in their teaching. Instead, it is designed to support all faculty who want to be more effective teachers. Participation in this program should be completely voluntary and faculty have control over what information they share with others about their peer observation experiences. All requests for information about the participation of a faculty member in this program from a department chair, administrator, or any other person, will be politely declined by CTL staff.
Q: Can we both observe each other?
A: Yes! You can observe each other and both receive an honorarium (and two on-campus lunches). To be eligible for funding, the only restriction is that the person being observed needs to have an academic appointment that involves teaching at the Claremont Colleges.
Q: Do the two people involved have to be ladder faculty?
A: No. Visiting faculty, part-time faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and teaching librarians are all eligible to participate. To be eligible for funding, the only restriction is that the person being observed needs to have an academic appointment that involves teaching at the Claremont Colleges.
Q: What is the maximum amount that we be reimbursed for lunch?
A: The program will only cover the cost of an on-campus lunch at one of the dining halls. Please save your receipt to be reimbursed.
Q: Does the faculty member that observes me have to be affiliated with a different college than my own?
Q: Do the two observations have to be of the same class?
Q: Do we have to use an observation form to qualify?
A: No. However, we recommend some tool for recording information during the observation as it will help you receive the feedback that you are looking for.