Home » Initiative: Local Peer Observation of Teaching

Local Peer Observation of Teaching

Local peer observation of teaching provides a framework for formative and summative
peer discussion and self-assessment of teaching strategies

At the 2015 summer RTA conference in Pullman, Washington, this working group was tasked with generating a useful and workable system of local (AKA institutional) peer review/observation. The primary goal of this entire process is to enhance teaching.

Our group developed:

  1. Two straightforward instruments designed to facilitate the peer observation process
  2. A set of guiding principles, or best practices, to facilitate implementation of local peer observation

Emphasis is placed on “observation/reflection” rather than “evaluation” of teaching. We have attempted to navigate the narrow passage between a useful, expedient system of peer observation and yet another unsolicited mandate on faculty time and creativity.

The two instruments we created include one for didactic lectures, laboratories and discussions, and the other for clinical and small group teaching. These instruments are comprised of three subcomponents focused on a pre-observation meeting, the actual observation of teaching itself, followed by a post-observation discussion. The instruments are designed to be both formative and summative, to both assist the maturation of instructors and to provide a focused synopsis of their teaching acumen.

We developed a set of best practices to guide implementation of local peer observation. We are aware that adoption of a local peer observation process is institution-specific. What works for one institution will not necessarily work as well at a different school.

Local Peer Observations Instruments:

Implementation of local peer observation of teaching best practices
For didactic lectures, laboratories and discussions
For clinical and small group teaching

PURPOSE:  The RTA’s Educator’s Promotion Packet guidelines and format are intended to (a) to provide an evidence-based dossier template for faculty with significant teaching and/or educational leadership responsibilities, so that (b) promotion packets might be more fairly and rigorously reviewed – including, ideally, by qualified external reviewers.  The format represents an evidence-based approach, and has been modified from the AAMC Toolbox for Medical Educators

Local Peer Observation Initiative Members:

  • Co-Chair: Elena Gorman (OSU)
  • Co-Chair: Diana Hassel (CSU)
  • Steering Committee Liaison: Christiane Löhr (OSU)

Local Representatives:


  • Lora Ballweber


  • Bill Vernau

Western U

  • Maria Fahie
  • Malika Kachani


    • Elena Gorman
    • Christiane Löhr


    • Gary Haldorson