From: Trav Johnson
Date: May 1 2006 - 6:34pm
Tom, I like your idea. Thanks Mike for your great description of history and context for this issue. I would like to add one point that may seem peripheral, but I think it is important.
I have noticed for years that there is not a strong professional organization for the evaluation of teaching. I know there is the special interest group within AERA and there is a topical interest group in AEA. There is some interest/support from organizations like POD and AIR. There is also support from specific centers such as the IDEA Center and the Evaluation Center (Western Michigan).
But the general evaluation of teaching is not a priority for any professional organization. It is always something added on the side and its proponents are scattered across a host of organizations, institutions, and efforts. I think this fragmentation is a hindrance to establishing more widespread understanding and support for the evaluation of teaching. Having an organization whose primary focus is evaluating teaching (or at least one of its primary foci is evaluating teaching) would be an important step in promoting and legitimizing the evaluation of teaching in higher education.
This type of organization could help develop and promote a set of “7 Principles” or other standards/guidelines/best practices for evaluating teaching. And it could help give more credibility and unity for evaluation-of-teaching ideas and efforts. This may be one of the things that is needed to eventually establish more widely accepted and more broadly utilized principles of practice like "7 Principles for Fair and Effective Student Evaluation of Teaching".