Texas Tech University

The Teaching Evaluation Initiative


Teaching Eval Knot

As we strive to improve and build upon a culture of excellence in teaching and learning at Texas Tech, the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center, the Teaching Academy, and the Office of the Provost have partnered together to consider how we might define, reflect upon, and evaluate teaching at Texas Tech University. This effort is called the Teaching Evaluation Initiative.

The goal of the Teaching Evaluation Initiative is to shift our campus culture to a triangulated teaching evaluation process that includes student and instructor evaluations, self-reflection of one's own teaching, and peer evaluation of teaching. The Teaching Evaluation Initiative is a collective project that builds upon a history of teaching excellence at Texas Tech. It is not our intent to mandate teaching practices, technologies, or strategies. Rather we seek to collectively create shared resources and tools that faculty and departments can choose to adopt or adapt.

We acknowledge that our continued participation in TEval workshops and mentorship from Dr. Ginger Clark, Associate Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs (USC), as well as Dr. Noah Finkelstein, Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, have provided significant guidance in our initiative. Many Texas Tech faculty members, staff, students, and administrators have devoted time to this project and without our shared work, our progress would be impossible.

This evolving site contains resources related to this project. For more information, please contact Suzanne Tapp.

Project History and Timeline

In Fall, 2020, representatives from Texas Tech University were accepted to an invitation-only workshop convened by the Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the TEval Project with support from the National Science Foundation (IUSE 1524832, DRL 1725946, 1726087, 1725959, and 1725956). Attendees were divided into action planning campuses (Rutgers, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of California Los Angeles and University of Missouri) and Advisory Campuses (University of Colorado, University of Kansas, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Southern California, and University of Oregon). As we learned from other institutions and observed the ways in which they had improved their institutions' teaching cultures, we were inspired to begin a similar project at Texas Tech. The timeline on this page summarizes our progress to date.

Please click on the headings below to learn more about efforts in each of these areas:

Course Evaluations

The Course Evaluations committee is comprised of Mike Serra (Co-Chair), Suzanne Tapp (Co-Chair), Raegan Higgins, Angela Lumpkin, Kerk Kee, Jason Headrick, Hayden Holmes, Sandra Huston, Sarah Wagnor, Toby Brooks, and Addison Sparks. For more information, please contact Suzanne Tapp.

This committee will examine course evaluations at Texas Tech from an evidence-based perspective to consider what the research suggests about the validity of this measurement, the potential biases, and the information we can gather about student perceptions of their learning.

Committee Goals:

    • Review course evaluations from other institutions to consider adding items to the TTU standard set of evaluation questions. 
    • Identify capabilities with SmartEvals for customization and data analysis.
    • Consider building a set of standard questions and a bank of additional questions for customization.
    • Consider re-naming course evaluations to more accurately represent the purpose of the tool.
    • Host a student focus group for additional feedback regarding the course evaluation process.
    • Gather feedback from other stakeholder groups on campus (Provost Office, Faculty Senate, Chair Academy, Academic Council, etc.)
    • Create recommendations for the appropriate use of course evaluations.
    • Prepare a final report for the Office of the Provost.

Course Evaluation Examples & Information from Other Institutions

Self-Reflection of One's Own Teaching

The Self Reflection committee is comprised of Lisa Garner Santa (co-chair), Dominick Casadonte (co-chair), and Andrew Stetson.

With the goal to document the efforts instructors have made this fall semester to address our unique teaching situation, the Teaching Academy and TLPDC are recommending self-reflection using already available areas in Digital Measures that can be found here.

Peer Evaluation of Teaching

The Peer Teaching Observation committee is comprised of Mitzi Ziegner and Karen Alexander.

Peer observation is when a colleague observes your teaching efforts. This colleague may be in your discipline area or it may be someone outside your expertise area. The observation should be conducted with the mindset of identifying both areas of teaching prowess and areas of improvement. Find out more information here.

Committee Goals:

  • To promote the TeMPO Program for peer feedback in addition to college-level peer evaluations.
  • Work to ensure that college level peer evaluations are consistently provided annually in all colleges.
  • Gather, review, and provide examples and resources for colleges/programs to develop peer evaluation tools reflective of their disciplines and instructional modalities.
  • Connect peer evaluation and self-reflection at the college level.
  • Encourage pre and post evaluation conference with evaluator.

TTU Definition of Teaching

The Defining Teaching Excellence committee is comprised of Courtney Meyers and Lisa Low.

Texas Tech University is committed to evidence-based, inclusive, innovative, engaging, and empowering teaching and learning. In defining teaching excellence, the definition should be shaped and customized by disciplinary context, modality, student characteristics, and many other factors. With this acknowledgement, the definition and key pillars provided below serve as a starting point for conversations about what teaching excellence looks like in various academic areas. A revised definition might be created by a department and used as a transparent guide for expectations of the department's teaching culture.

Read more about the five pillars used in defining teaching excellence.

Committee Goals:

  • Look at definitions from other universities.
  • Develop a working definition and send the original faculty input group for feedback.
  • Make adjustments to the definition, then send to other stakeholders for comments.
  • Make final changes based on stakeholder feedback.

Departmental Teaching Plans

The Departmental Teaching Plans committee is comprised of Angela Lumpkin and David Roach.

Committee Goals:

  • Define excellence in teaching and learning specific to the discipline(s).
  • Implement a strategy for self-reflection on teaching that includes engaging in teaching development opportunities and activities.
  • Develop a process and the tools for the peer observation of teaching, including for synchronous and asynchronous online courses.
  • Establish rewards for participation in teaching reflection and development, peer evaluation, and teaching performance. 

Other Resources

Subcommittee Information:

TLPDC (Organizing Structure) Partners: Teaching Academy Faculty Senate NSF ADVANCE Grant Office of the Provost Office of the President; Peer Review Subcommittee  Mitzi Ziegner Karen Alexander; Teaching Quality  Definition Subcommittee Courtney Meyers Lisa Low; Departmental Teaching Plans Subcommittee Angela Lumpkin David Roach; Self-Reflection Subcommittee Lisa Garner Santa Dom Casadonte; Student Evaluation Subcommittee  Suzanne Tapp Michael Serra

Register now for a special session with Dr. Noah Finkelstein!

Recognizing Biases in Instructor/Course Evaluations    April 21st | 10:30AM - Noon | TLPDC 150

Looking for ATLC resources?

Resources and recorded sessions from the 2021 Advancing Teaching & Learning Conference (ATLC).

Timeline with mutilple points from 2020 to 2023

Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center

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    University Library Building, Room 136, Mail Stop 2044, Lubbock, TX 79409-2004
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