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College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)/CFE Teaching Fellows Program

The CFE and College leadership formed a partnership to offer this new initiative to enhance the Peer Review of Teaching process for fixed-term or teaching track faculty going up for a promotion at Carolina. In particular, the purpose here is to offer a structured way to provide a more comprehensive peer review of teaching using a pool of experienced faculty who serve as CFE Teaching Fellows. Key questions and resources are identified below.

Resources and Downloads

New UNC CAS-CFE Peer Review of Teaching Template

Policies for fixed-term faculty regarding appointment to a higher rank

Options for Conducting Class Observations:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Teaching Assistant Professors and Teaching Associate Professors need an annual review of teaching?

In Fall 2019, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) implemented a requirement that all Teaching Assistant Professors and Teaching Associate Professors with three-year or five-year contracts must receive an annual teaching evaluation and annual review with their Department Chair.

When is an ‘external review’ (outside the dept.) of teaching needed?

For those going up for promotion, CAS also requires a comprehensive external review by a faculty member from outside of their department. To assist departments with these requirements, a team of CFE Teaching Fellows was created to supply resources for annual teaching evaluations and to serve in the role of external reviewers as needed.

Who are the CFE Teaching Fellows?

The College has identified the following faculty who will serve limited (2-4) year terms.

  • *Dorothea Heitsch — Teaching Professor, Romance Studies
  • *Meredith Petschauer — Teaching Professor, Exercise and Sport Science
  • *Jeff Summerlin-Long —Teaching Associate Professor, Public Policy
  • Matthew Andrews — Teaching Associate Professor, History
  • Duane Deardorff — Teaching Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy
  • Linda Green —Teaching Associate Professor, Mathematics
  • Bradley Hammer —Teaching Professor, English and Comparative Literature

*Steering Committee

What do CFE Teaching Fellows do?

They conduct external peer reviews of teaching (outside the department) for teaching-track faculty going up for promotion in the College. The CFE Teaching Fellows have spent time on creating and using a comprehensive process that uses a new UNC template to evaluate many aspects of teaching, advising, mentoring, scholarly research on teaching, service, and other activities by which faculty support Carolina’s teaching mission. The template is adapted from the NSF research-based Benchmarks for Teaching Effectiveness.

Is an external review required for promotion in the teaching-track ranks?

Yes, in Fall 2019, the CAS implemented a requirement that all Teaching Assistant Professors and Teaching Associate Professors with three-year or five-year contracts who are going up for promotion, must not only complete an annual teaching evaluation and annual review with their Department Chair, but each must have a comprehensive external review by a faculty member from outside of their department. Additional details and descriptions are provided via the CAS 2021 Supplement for Teaching Track Faculty as well as a CAS Policy on Peer Teaching Observation and Annual Evaluation Process.

Do CAS departments have to use CFE Teaching Fellows for external reviews?

No. Teaching Fellows are available, but departments may choose to solicit a different outside reviewer on their own.

What are the benefits for a department to use this program?

Besides providing a more comprehensive review on many aspects of teaching, advising/mentoring, service, or scholarship on teaching, the process fosters a dialogue and enhanced feedback to the faculty member. The peer reviewer and faculty member under review have meaningful conversations before and after the classroom observation component. This process helps to build community and creates a learning opportunity.

Can the Teaching Fellows do reviews for reappointment or annual evaluation?

The Teaching Fellows have limited capacity at this point. We recommend asking a colleague to use the same process and tools we use in our reviews. See below or contact the CFE for assistance.

Do Teaching Professors need to have annual peer reviews of teaching?

At this time, the College is not mandating peer review of teaching and annual conferences for Teaching Professors. However, the College recommends that each department head meets with Teaching Professors to discuss and document progress in advance of the expiration of their contract.

What is the process for departments seeking out a CFE Teaching Fellow for external review?

The College has outlined the steps below and provided the following details. Note that the College will coordinate with the Provost’s Office to update deadlines on the Academic Personnel website of APT policies by school.

In general, the key steps to follow include:

  1. Chair must inform CAS of teaching track faculty going up for promotion and request an External Reviewer unless the Chair, with consultation with the candidate, identifies one. (For July 1 promotion review, inform CAS by January 15; For December promotion review, inform CAS by September 1.)
  2. CAS informs CFE staff who will assign a CFE Teaching Fellow to conduct the external review
  3. CFE Teaching Fellow will contact the faculty member to conduct a: (a) pre-review meeting (b) course observation and review of materials (c) post-review meeting They will use a comprehensive template to conduct this external review. The CFE also has additional templates for the class observation process.
  4. CFE Teaching Fellow provides review letter to Department Chair at least one week before Chair must submit full dossier to CA
  5. Chair prepares and submits all dossier materials to CAS by deadline as posted: (Usually mid- March for July or mid-November for December consideration)

  1. The department Chair must inform CAS of teaching track faculty going up for promotion and request an External Reviewer unless the Chair, in consultation with the candidate, identifies one.
  2. The Department Chair (or Promotion Committee Chair in some departments) should contact the College to request an External Review by a CFE Teaching Fellow. Please send an email to Teresa Wilkinson (tsmith7@email.unc.edu) or Janet Farrell (Janet_Farrell@unc.edu) and include:
    1. Name of Teaching Track Faculty member to be reviewed and anticipated promotion date;
    2. Any specific course(s) recommended for peer review of teaching;
    3. Note the College deadline for a final letter or summary of findings to you as the Dept. Chair and set a deadline at least one week prior to receive the summary letter from the CFE Teaching Fellow / External Reviewer.
  3. The College staff will contact Dr. Doug James, Associate Director for Faculty Development in Teaching and Learning in the Center for Faculty Excellence, who will identify a CFE Teaching Fellow to conduct the external review. Dr. James will send an email confirmation to inform the faculty member, assign the External Reviewer/ CFE Teaching Fellow, and copy the Dept. Chair. The deadline for the CFE Teaching Fellow to provide a final letter or summary of findings to the Department Chair will be noted.
  4. The CFE Teaching Fellow will schedule a Pre-Review Conversation meeting with the faculty member. During that meeting, they should also discuss and determine materials to be shared for a comprehensive review and schedule the Course Observation and a Post-Review Conversation meeting. The CFE Teaching Fellow will use this template to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of teaching, mentoring and advising, professional growth, involvement in teaching, research or scholarship (as applicable), and community service.
  5. The CFE Teaching Fellow will submit the final External Review summary letter to the department chair or committee chair at least one week prior to the Chair’s deadline to submit the dossier or according to the Chair’s internal deadline. To ensure consistent processes are used and maintain confidentiality of personnel records, the External Reviewer will not provide a copy of the letter to the faculty member. The External Reviewer will simply inform the CFE staff (Dr. Doug James) when the letter has been submitted and process has been completed.
  6. The Department Chair must review all dossier materials and ensure the full dossier is submitted by the deadlines noted by the College.

What should I put in my dossier? 

When going up for promotion, you may want to highlight the variety of ways you support teaching and learning at Carolina and beyond in your dossier and materials. As noted on the new UNC template, there are several items to highlight. 

  • Teaching load/ courses taught, # of students, and any supervision of student research, theses, etc.
  • Advising /mentoring (# of students, student groups)
  • Syllabi, new courses created or taught, collaborations such as COIL/international
  • Statement of teaching philosophy
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion or Accessibility (DEIA) in teaching statement or efforts
  • Summary of student evaluations of teaching
  • Scholarly research on teaching (publications, presentations)
  • Professional development, awards, or grants related to teaching
  • Administrative roles such as Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Support to curriculum revisions/committees
  • Support to professional organizations on teaching
  • Any external factors impacting your teaching

What are the UNC-CH Faculty Policies?

  • Reflective statement
  • Teaching activities: List courses for the past three years, number of students taught by section. Give names of graduate students supervised, thesis titles, and completion dates for degree work since employment at UNC-CH. Undergraduate honors projects should be included as well.
  • Teaching evaluations: Summaries should be provided showing quantitative data which evaluates the teaching effectiveness. (Do not include individual student evaluations or grade sheets.)
  • Peer evaluations: Although not required, the faculty member may receive unsolicited letters of recommendation from colleagues with whom he or she may have collaborated. All evaluations must be submitted by individuals of equal or higher rank.

All policies for Fixed Term Faculty regarding appointment to a higher rank are outlined on the Academic Personnel website.

Again, each faculty member should consult with their Department Chair to clarify annual review criteria, forms, and requirements which can vary by school and department regarding specific policies and procedures. Detailed faculty policies and guidelines for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure are provided for each school at Carolina.

Questions?

Please contact Dr. Doug James at doug.james@unc.edu with any questions.