Evaluating Your Teaching

Our trajectories of teaching excellence come from reflective practices. This means we need to document and make visible the work we do in preparing our courses and delivering learning. It means reflecting on the outcomes regularly, innovating, improving, and thriving. Evidence of impactful teaching comes from many different data points, the most commonly cited are your own teaching effectiveness statement, your course syllabi, teaching materials you have developed, and student course evaluations.

The key hallmarks of the liberal arts at NYUAD include the following approaches. You can regularly reflect on how you do these things and what effect they have.

  • Close interaction between faculty and students (access to cutting edge research and practice)
  • Learner-centered teaching
  • Small-classroom sizes
  • Project-based learning
  • Authentic projects and subjects
  • Experiential learning (J-Term and field trips)
  • Culturally attuned
  • Inclusive of diverse learners and linguistic contexts

In evaluating your own teaching you want to make the work you do visible by effectively describing your efforts, reflecting on impact, and revising when necessary.

The below figure highlights the areas in which you can detail how you pursue the practice of teaching.

Kern, B., Mettetal, G., Dixon, M., and Morgan, R. (2015). The Role of SoTL in the Academy: Upon the 25th Anniversary of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learnings, 15 (3), 1-4.


Here are some practical next steps you can take in making your good teaching visible:

  1. Document how you bring your research into the classroom.
  2. Create formative teaching circles for classroom observations.
  3. Develop mid-term course evaluations for formative feedback and document your response to this as a reflective practice.
  4. Document how you address diversity and inclusion in your syllabus, pedagogy, and assessment.
  5. Develop robust teaching statements for file.
  6. Document your capstone supervision, curricular development, and J-Terms.
  7. Complete your CAaR forms and use the content to make your teaching statement more robust and well evidenced.
  8. Reflect on the feedback you do receive in student course evaluations.
  9. Attend teaching development workshops providing by the HBC and the NYU TLT.

Conduct a Teaching Goals Inventory

The Teaching Goals Inventory is a questionnaire tool to ascertain and tabulate the teaching goals that are important to you — this can help you align to your own goals and practices.

Interpreting End of Semester Course Evaluations

End of semester course evaluations are subjected to a variety of factors, which makes them a noisy instrument to measure teacher's effectiveness. Despite all their flaws, they can shed light on areas for potential revision and can ultimately lead to positive improvements. The key lies in approaching them in the right way. In order to identify and distill representative feedback, one needs to consider the course evaluations in context and read them through the appropriate lens.

These are strategies that help in interpreting end of semester course evaluations:

Before jumping to any finite conclusions from the course evaluations, it is important to consider the significance and validity of the data.

University of Virginia's Center for Teaching Excellence offers guidelines on understanding student evaluation data for both numerical data and written comments on course evaluations.

Additional Resources

Preparing Midterm Course Feedback Forms

Why are Midterm Course Evaluations important?

Midterm course evaluations help students feel more engaged and committed to the course while giving you enough time to make teaching adjustments specific to their needs. They offer ample space for personalization and foster a culture of completion at the end of the semester. Giving students an opportunity to respond to the course in an anonymous format will encourage them to communicate responses that they may not feel comfortable providing in person – including positive comments.

How to implement Midterm Course Evaluations?

Adapted from The Dartmouth Learning Design and Technology, these five steps guide the implementation midterm course evaluations:

Additional Resources

Writing Effective Teaching Statements for Renewal, Tenure, and Promotion

You should speak with the tenure committee Chair about what they expect to see included in your Teaching Statement. In general you want to review your teaching philosophy and evidence how you enact that philosophy in your course design, pedagogy, and teaching methods. Evidence should be provided about your reflective teaching practices; meaning what have you done to adjust your teaching over the years. How do you incorporate your research into your teaching? Have you been an impactful Capstone advisor? What innovations have you made in your courses? Have you embraced experiential learning? Your teaching statement should make visible the many ways in which you have reached your learners.

A suggested list of what to include is provided here, but this should be reviewed with your committee chair and faculty mentor.

  1. Please list relevant courses you have taught or wish to teach and provide us with selected syllabi and student evaluations
  2. Please prepare a teaching statement that addresses the following issues:
    1. How would you characterize your own “teaching philosophy” and practice in courses you have taught in the past? Provide concrete examples to help us understand your approach.
    2. What do you want students to learn in your class? How do they learn it? What specific activities, exercises and assignments do you use to engage your students and facilitate learning?
    3. How do you know your goals for students are being met?
  3. At NYU Abu Dhabi classes are typically small and populated by students from around the world with different majors and diverse cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. Mindful of the particulars of NYUAD please address:
    1. How you envision your pedagogic practice in the classroom situation in Abu Dhabi.
    2. Your views concerning balancing lecturing and interactive teaching through class discussions, student presentations, and work in smaller subgroups.
    3. How you envision presenting disciplinary materials best to non-majors as well as majors.
    4. Whether and if so how you envision your teaching taking into consideration the specific opportunities and challenges of NYUAD's geographic location?

If you have any questions, please email nyuad.facultydevelopment@nyu.edu.