DeLTA shares research-based resource created to support STEM departments in advancing teaching evaluation

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DeLTA shares research-based resource created to support STEM departments in advancing teaching evaluation

The DeLTA Project (Department and Leadership Teams for Action), is excited to share a research-based resource we created to support STEM departments in advancing teaching evaluation. DeLTA has been funded by a $3 million National Science Foundation grant, teams of faculty members will create, implement and assess active learning materials to help students better develop STEM knowledge and skills. The multi-level project also involves department heads, the Office of Faculty Affairs and Office of Instruction, who will work together to explore ways to better support, incentivize and reward effective, evidence-based STEM instruction. Research findings, at both the disciplinary level and at the department and institutional levels, will be broadly disseminated to improve student learning outcomes at UGA and at research institutions nationwide.

The DeLTA team includes OIBR Distinguished Scholars, Paula Lemons, Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Associate Dean for Social and Behavioral Sciences, Erin Dolan, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Tessa Andrews, Associate Professor of Genetics, and OIBR Affiliate Peggy Brickman, Professor of Plant Biology.

The team recently published an article in Life Sciences Education, “Guides to Advance Teaching Evaluation (GATEs): A Resource for STEM Departments Planning Robust and Equitable Evaluation Practices”, and is a research-based resource to support STEM departments in advancing teaching evaluation.

Most science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments inadequately evaluate teaching, which means they are not equipped to recognize or reward effective teaching. As part of a project at one institution, the team observed that departmental chairs needed help recognizing the decisions they would need to make to improve teaching evaluation practices. To meet this need, they developed the Guides to Advance Teaching Evaluation (GATEs), using an iterative development process. The GATEs are designed to be a planning tool that outlines concrete goals to guide reform in teaching evaluation practices in STEM departments at research-intensive institutions. The GATEs are grounded in the available scholarly literature and guided by existing reform efforts and have been vetted with STEM departmental chairs. The GATEs steer departments to draw on three voices to evaluate teaching: trained peers, students, and the instructor. This research-based resource includes three components for each voice: 1) a list of departmental target practices to serve as goals; 2) a characterization of common starting places to prompt reflection; and 3) ideas for getting started. Anecdotal examples are provided of potential uses of the GATEs for reform efforts in STEM departments and as a research tool to document departmental practices at different time points.

Read more here.