Gallatin believes strongly in giving teachers substantive feedback on their classes as a matter of professional development and to enable the school to make sound decisions about hiring, promotion, tenure, and reappointment. There are two principal ways of assessing teaching—peer observations and student evaluations.
As part of Gallatin’s commitment to teaching excellence, all faculty members, full-time and part-time, are periodically observed by a member of the Gallatin full-time faculty. In addition, all new instructors are observed in their first semester. If your course is scheduled to be observed, the faculty observer will give you reasonable notice and will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient date for the visit. You may want to meet beforehand to discuss the plans for the class, so the observer knows something about what you are doing. During the visit, the observer will sit and watch the class interactions, taking notes, but generally not actively participating. Afterward, the observer will fill out an Class Observation form in which he or she will provide a brief description of the class, noting what worked well and suggesting areas for improvement. The form will then be sent to you for your signature. Your signature indicates only that you have read the report (and not necessarily agreed with it), and you are free to append your own comments to the observation. Upon your request, you and the observer will have a post-observation conference. The final observation (and any comments from you) is then submitted to the curriculum committee chair, who will share it with your program director. For more details about the observation process, please see our Class Observation Guidelines.
Getting Mid-Semester Feedback
Many faculty like to receive feedback early in the semester by self-administering a mid-semester evaluation. This is a great opportunity to see how your course is going in terms of the pace of assignments, student engagement with the subject, etc. Please follow this link for suggestions on how to gather mid-semester feedback.
Near the end of the semester, Gallatin faculty will receive instructions for students to complete course evaluation forms. Gallatin’s course evaluation process entails two components: completion of an in-classroom paper form for written comments, as well as completion of an online form (available through Albert). The paper form is distributed by the dean’s office and will be placed in your mailbox at Gallatin. Please carefully follow the instructions for the distribution, completion and collection of the forms.
To ensure high response rates, Gallatin would like students to complete the online form in the classroom at the same time that they complete the paper form. Faculty are asked to set aside 15-20 minutes of class time (at the beginning of the class session) for this process. (Distributing forms at the beginning of the class instead of at the end yields more thoughtful feedback as students are not rushing off to the next class.) One essential element of the procedure is that, once you have read the directions and selected a student to collect the paper forms, you leave the room; students need to be confident that their responses will be anonymous, so you should not handle the forms after they have been filled out.
Faculty are also asked to complete the evaluation process during the second to final week (the penultimate week) of the semester. Based upon your course’s meeting pattern, Gallatin will provide faculty with a preferred date to complete the evaluations. Faculty should add this date to their syllabus, instructing students to bring their smart phone, tablet or laptop to class on this date in order to complete the online form. If a student does not own any of these devices, please let the Office of Faculty Services know so that they can arrange to loan your student a laptop.
Faculty can log into their Albert faculty center to watch in real time as students complete the online form. You will not be able to see the results yet (these are available after final grades are submitted), but you can see what percentage of students have completed the online form.
The online form will only be available during the last two weeks of classes (or, for 7-week courses, the last week of classes). The online forms are not available during final exam week.
Gallatin will send faculty a copy of the in-class paper forms after the semester is over. Faculty will have access to the online evaluation results after final grades are submitted. Partial results of the online evaluations will be available to members of the NYU community who have access to Albert approximately 45 days after the semester ends. Course evaluations results are also shared with members of the Curriculum Committee, curricular program directors, and the deans of the school.
Center for Teaching Excellence
The Center for Teaching Excellence is a university-wide resource office that provides a variety of services designed to promote teaching effectiveness. Faculty consultants are available to observe (and, if requested, videotape) a faculty member’s class and then meet with the instructor to help improve teaching strategies. The center also offers teaching workshops and symposia that address a number of pedalogical concerns from grading and leading class discussions to teaching strategies in the multicultural classroom.