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. Things you can say to your 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: How often can I participate in this program?
A: You are eligible to receive funding through this program once per semester as a person who is observed. There is no limit to the number of times that you can participate in the program each semester as someone who is observing. This means that two faculty may observe each other during a semester and participate in this program both as observers and observed, and the Multi-Campus Teaching Observation Program will pay for two honoraria. Of course, you may continue observing each other apart from the Multi-Campus Teaching Observation Program. The policy of limiting faculty participation in the program once per semester as a person who is observed is to allow for funds to benefit the greatest number of people.
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 meals) once per semester. 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: Who can participate in this program? Do the two people involved have to be ladder faculty?
A: Full-time faculty, visiting or adjunct 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: Does the faculty member that observes me have to be affiliated with a different college than my own?
Q: If I am observed twice, 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.