Category Archives: PAR

Evaluation Plan for Faculty Can Be Fun. Really.

© Laura Strickland/MyCuteGraphics.com

So I’m a member of the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) committee again this year. As a member of this committee, I have agreed to be a mentor for a probational faculty member that needs to comply with the RFP requirements. When I heard about these new requirements for probationary faculty, my first thought was, thank goodness I’m not probationary. I don’t want to have any part of that. Well, it turns out no one can really escape PAR. Even us old residential faculty, as all the newbies are required to have mentors. And with so many new faculty, pretty much everyone who is not new is a mentor.

The Maricopa Community College District implemented this new peer assistance and review model (PAR) for probationary faculty about 4 years ago. Faculty are considered probationary for 5 years. Under this new model, probationary faculty are assigned a residential faculty mentor to help guide them through the process to becoming residential (tenured). As part of the PAR, probationary faculty have the opportunity to document their professional growth, mentor evaluation, administrative evaluations, and student evaluations in a Google Sites template.

I actually ended up with two pretty awesome mentees. Both are excellent teachers and fun to work with. The best part is they make being a mentor fairly easy. I’m going to share my recent evaluation of one although evaluation isn’t quite the right word. It was more of an observation with feedback. Evaluation indicates the making of a judgment about the value of something; assessment. I’d like to believe all teaching has value, and it’s really not up to me to judge someone’s value or their teaching. I like to observe and then give feedback. Lucky for me what I’ve observed has always been inspiring.

Recently I sat in on an after class review session and the room was full. My first observation was how does that happen. Students stick around for a study session after class? The whole class was engaged. They were divided into groups of 2-4 and it appeared that they each had an assigned topic to cover. As the instructor called on each group, students were prepared with their information. Some reading from notes or slides; others reciting information from memory. My mentee was encouraging and peppered the whole class and group members with questions. Students volunteered answered. Whether they were correct or incorrect, they each received the same kind feedback that the answer was correct or incorrect. It didn’t seem punitive if the answer was not correct. Someone else was just called on to provide a different answer. The whole session was positive and encouraging. I was inspired, and I wasn’t even a student in the class.

It’s really good to see good teaching, but the best part is there is no one way about it. Every instructor brings her own touch to the classroom, and we can all learn by observing how others get the job done. Turns out that this whole PAR thing might not be such a bad thing after all.

IDP: Reflections on Student Evaluations

REFLECTION: 
 

In addition to the qualitative and quantitative department measures, two years ago I added a pre-post assignment dealing with students’ expectations for the class. I got this from one of the student success articles I read. Students respond to three prompts that tell me about what they look for in a good class, a good teacher, and how they view their role in the whole learning process. The rankings of x/10 indicate how well the reality at the end of the semester matched the expectation they set in their first assignment. They also add additional comments.

I find these pre/post assignments to be especially helpful when students do not rate me as satisfactory or higher in the course evaluations. For example, in the Fall 2015 EDU220 course evaluations, five or six students responded with less than satisfactory in several areas. The student evaluations are typically done with three weeks left in the semester. When I drill down into students’ comments at the end of the course, I’m pleased that overall I met their expectations (see attached pre/post First Assignment). In talking with my EDU students in particular, many of them need the entire set of course experiences to feel confident about their ability to serve English Language Learners.

Because most of my courses deal with students’ confidence in their own abilities, I continually focus on ways to help them relax, have fun, and see their own personal growth.  My daily challenge is to build relationships that are strong enough that they are willing to take risks and learn new things.

 

Out with the old and in with the new! Part I

CINDY: The professional development opportunities offered by MCCCD are one of the greatest benefits of our work. During my fifteen years with the district I have attended many workshops, learned all I know about technology, attended a major conference each year, taken a sabbatical, and received summer and MCLI grants. A highlight of my career was being an MIL Fellow and my indoctrination into the scholarship of teaching and learning. Classroom research and reflective practice are now a normal and constant part of my work.

This year I was asked to be a PAR mentor and my professional development took a new and unique turn. On some days it takes place “across the hallway” with my colleague Sherry. Our dining room tables, the patio, a restaurant or two, and GCC patio tables have been the sight of serious professional development sessions, too! Inherently, “brainstorming and talking out ideas” with colleagues is how I best learn and plan for my courses, but somehow I think this relationship was also borne out of the adage “everything old is new again.” I say that because we seem to have similar training and experiences but working with Sherry has helped contemporize and re-energize my classes. In fact, I am finally parting with my mimeographed handouts and omitting or revising lessons (AND even posting them on Canvas! Thanks Sherry!)

 

Sherry: As I sat in a training listening to Chris explain the essential element of reflecting with my PAR mentor, I was laughing to myself because I am ALWAYS reflecting with my mentor, especially now that we are hallway buddies:) Cindy and I started our venture with our Supercharging 081 grant, which has led to incredible things. I remember my first semester where we had our RDG 081 students read Dracula, and she laughed because I added all the current pop culture vampire themed movies, television shows, and other books. She holds me accountable with her questions, and makes my own reflections define what outcomes I desire for my students.

The last two semesters we have been co-planning our CRE 101 classes. We have even implemented several co-teaching sessions, taking it a step beyond simple observations. Cindy has been a mentor that I can bounce ideas off of, ask numerous questions, make mistakes, disagree with, but most importantly she makes me feel like a valued and respected colleague. It is a give and take relationship….and the true definition of professional development in the sense that our collaborating leads to amazing teaching!!!!

Stay tuned for some specific examples of lesson transformations!!!!