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Four ways to take faculty evaluation to the next level

6 min read
Faculty evaluation is a process defined to improve faculty performance and enhance institutional outcomes. Discover how to do this and more in this complete guide.


Faculty evaluation is vital to keeping students engaged and ensuring your school offers a quality teaching and learning experience. All faculty members – whether at the K-12 or university level – should participate in regular performance evaluations throughout their tenure, as they help:

  • Optimize learning outcomes and student performance
  • Improve teacher and faculty retention and promotion
  • Identify opportunities for faculty growth and professional development

This blog post highlights four tips for taking faculty evaluation to the next level.

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1. Listen to the student voice

Course evaluations help bridge the gap between student and teacher experience by measuring things like faculty member communication skills and attitude, curriculum content and level of difficulty, and student perception of educational value.

To get the most value out of your course evaluations, develop course evaluation surveys that:

  • Use clear, concise, and relevant questions
  • Ask for both summative and formative feedback
  • Avoid question bias
  • Underscore the value of respondent input
  • Ensure confidentiality

If you want to get to the fine details of student sentiment and the value of the learning you provide, consider using Qualtrics’ course evaluation software. It’s a sophisticated tool that helps you to identify gaps in the learning experience and come up with the right actions to take to improve it.

Did you know?

Research conducted in the Cincinnati Public Schools system revealed that a student who is instructed by a math teacher who has been through the district’s evaluation process will score about 4.5 percentile points higher than a similar student taught by the same teacher before the teacher was evaluated.

2. Measure faculty engagement

Not only do engaged employees in the teaching setting typically stay at their schools longer, they also tend to prioritize delivering quality education, constantly seeking out new ideas and the best teaching practices. They also frequently monitor and report on student progress and engagement, and then modify their instruction to meet the needs of their students.

If you want to measure faculty engagement, create an employee engagement survey that gathers insights such as:

  • Do faculty members feel proud of where they work? Would they recommend it to others?
  • Do they feel motivated to go above and beyond in their role?
  • Do they plan on staying for a few years?
  • Do they feel heard, supported, and valued?

 Another way to understand what motivates your people to go above and beyond at work is to use Qualtrics’ employee engagement software. You can capture the information you need and then design a system of action to build these insights into your organization.

Did you know?  Qualtrics research found that teachers who are engaged and those who receive feedback that helps them improve classroom performance are more likely to plan to stay at their school for three or more years.

3. Provide peer reviews

Peer reviews are helpful because instructors are in a unique position to conduct evaluations that focus on aspects of their colleagues’ teaching that are beyond the expertise of students. For example, the instructor’s knowledge of the field, how up to date the course materials are, the appropriate level of rigor, and the instructor’s contributions to course and curriculum development.

One way is to develop a 360-degree evaluation program.
A 360-degree evaluation program helps you to:

  • Solicit peer assessments during the evaluation period
  • Gather input from colleagues who work directly with the faculty member in his or her department
  • Set clear goals for developmental purposes
  • Focus on 8-10 core competency areas
  • Get personalized insights for your institution

If you’re not sure of where to start, Qualtrics’ 360 Development offers guidance that empowers faculty to own their development and learning. It uses simplified workflows, smart automation, and an intuitive participant portal to streamline the faculty evaluation, nomination, and reporting process while putting the right amount of control in the hands of HR administrators.

Did you know?

In one study that examined how peer observation was implemented as part of a teaching faculty development program, the participating teachers stated that the peer reviews were useful and relevant, offered an opportunity for insight and reflection, and enhanced the quality of their teaching.

4. Focus on continuous versus point-in-time feedback

Continuous feedback helps create a culture of ongoing, honest communication between faculty and school leaders. It allows faculty to take a more active role in setting and meeting personal and professional goals. In addition, it helps eliminate the risk of recency bias in responses and places emphasis on providing actionable suggestions that can be applied immediately.

So make it easy to exchange feedback in a variety of ways, including:

  • Online and mobile surveys
  • Emails
  • Suggestion boxes
  • Productivity apps
  • Face-to-face sessions

And if you need the right solution, Qualtrics’ employee pulse surveys allow you to frequently, quickly, and easily gather ongoing input from faculty about specific topics, get real-time insights to drive decisions, and track progress over time.

Did you know?

Data shows that employees who report getting regular, timely, relevant feedback are almost four times more likely than other employees to be engaged. Additional Qualtrics research found that 6out of 10 employees feel like they are not being listened to.

Improve the faculty evaluation experience across your institution