The University Record, December 10, 2001

U-M partakes in peer review study

By Joel Seguine
News and Information Services

The University is one of five major U.S. research universities participating in a project to test the feasibility of external peer review of teaching. The Pew Project on the Peer Review of Teaching, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, is designed to let colleagues across the country give each other feedback on their courses in the same way they receive feedback on their research. The project’s goal is to create a national infrastructure for faculty to review their colleagues’ teaching.

Faculty teams are spending the current academic year creating and discussing individual course portfolios. Matthew Kaplan, associate director of the Center for Research in Learning and Teaching (CRLT), is coordinating U-M’s involvement in the project.

The portfolios are designed to document the intellectual work associated with teaching, including goals for student learning, methods used to achieve those goals and evidence of student learning. Portfolios developed here will be exchanged with portfolios from the other participating universities. They are Indiana University, Kansas State, Texas A&M, and the University of Nebraska.

“The Pew project gives members of our faculty opportunities to interact with teacher-scholars at other major research universities, to explore the scholarship of teaching and ways to evaluate teaching that are in line with our educational mission,” explains Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “Colleagues at other research universities tell us that they, too, must contend with critics who say that teaching takes a back seat to research. “In fact, teaching is taken very seriously at U-M.” Monts says.

Monts also pointsout that participating in this consortium of research universities will bring new ideas, concepts and methodologies to the U-M campus. “We benefit greatly from these collaborative ventures. And I cannot overemphasize the importance of CRLT in these nationwide projects. As the first faculty development and teaching center on a university campus, it continues to be a contributor and leader on cutting-edge initiatives.”

Faculty participating in the Pew project include:

  • From the School of Business Administration: Scott Moore, assistant professor of computer and information services; James Reece, professor of accounting and operations management; and George Cameron, professor of business law.

  • From the Classics Department: Trianos Gagos, associate professor of classics; Susan Alcock, associate professor of classics; Deborah Ross, associate professor of classics; and Ruth Schodel, professor of classics.

  • From the School of Education: Lesley Rex, assistant professor of education; Nancy Songer, associate professor of education; Valerie Lee, professor of education; Charles Peters, clinical professor of education; and Eric Dey, associate dean and associate professor of education.