W. James Potter Indiana University
The primary challenge of faculty evaluation is to provide clear criteria for performance, especially in the area of teaching. The key to developing these clear criteria is to examine carefully the academic culture and the expectations (or learning styles) of students. In assembling this information into a definition of good teaching, three strategies can be used: (a) match strategy (assuming that student expectations are primary, the key is to maximize student satisfaction by matching students' learning styles to corresponding faculty strengths), (b) canon strategy (believing that certain knowledge and skills must be taught, the key is matching faculty strengths with certain kinds of information), and (c) liberal strategy (recognizing that a full learning experience requires a kaleidoscope of experiences for the student, the key is to provide students with the fullest range possible).
In general, evaluation essentially involves three tasks: (a) setting the criteria, (b) gathering evidence, and (c) comparing the evidence to the criteria. If the first two of these tasks have been performed properly, the third task is very simple. With the evaluation of teaching in higher education, the persistent problem has been the setting of clear criteria. This chapter is designed to help faculty think through that problem and move toward a clearer statement about what quality teaching means (or should mean) to the decision makers at academic institutions.
This chapter exhibits three characteristics as it addresses the problem of developing good teaching criteria. First, there is a focus on the what of teaching evaluation, rather than the how. The how has been addressed well in other books. For example, scholars have written about the techniques of