LT1: Evaluate Policies

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How do we change academic policies at our institutions to shift towards inclusive excellence in teaching?

We propose that our institutions currently have few policies that explicitly address evaluation of teaching, including its effectiveness and inclusiveness. The result is that inclusive and effective teaching is not valued or rewarded, and there is limited accountability. To address these issues, our first project focuses on how institutions can implement policy (e.g., promotion and tenure guidelines, merit review policies, etc.) that recognizes and rewards inclusive and effective teaching. The development of clear policy can be one way to create change that lasts beyond the efforts of a single person, group, or grant and is codified in institutional governance documents. The documents serve as a visible sign of an institution's commitment in this area of academic work.

Through this project, we expect that our institutions—at all levels—will each develop clearly elucidated policies (informed by dialogue of stakeholders) that incentivize and reward effective and inclusive teaching. Policies for promotion, tenure, and annual review will explicitly address evaluation of teaching, including its effectiveness and inclusiveness, focusing on growth over time and use multiple data sources to reduce bias and improve validity of inferences about teaching. The goals and specific metrics for success will include:

  • Merit increases and promotion and tenure decisions are driven/influenced by the effectiveness and inclusiveness of teaching.
  • Teaching evaluation policies and procedures require evidence of meeting criteria for inclusive and effective teaching.
  • Teaching evaluation uses multiple data sources (self-reflection, peer and student feedback).
  • Evaluation is low-stakes during instructor development. Expectations and plans for continuous improvement are clearly defined with trained mentors with experience in inclusive practices.

Our process for carrying out this project will involve the following steps:

  1. Examine the processes for creating effective policies by (a) examining how policies are being expressed and enacted and whether and how policies are working or not; and (b) identifying ways to remove barriers to change, rooted in relevant change theories, actions, and tools.
  2. Enact policy change on campuses by (a) translating the actions and tools from each other's campuses onto our own, including adapting or adopting specific policy language, policy change approaches, campus communication strategies, tools, technologies; and (b) developing and enacting plans for sharing information and resources on our own campuses and ensuring stakeholder buy-in over time.
  3. Evaluate impact, reflect, and share lessons learned by (a) sharing progress and seeking feedback on the local campus translations, including obstacles encountered and ideas about how they can be mitigated or overcome; (b) evaluating the extent to which translations were successful, including documenting obstacles faced during the translation and whether and how these obstacles were navigated; and (c) providing a summary of the approaches across the different institutions attempting to enact policies around inclusive teaching for use by a broader set of institutions.

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