Home » Initiative: External Peer Review of Teaching

External Peer Review of Teaching

Making Teaching Matter

GOAL: The goal of this initiative is to address 2 major obstacles to recognizing and rewarding teaching in our colleges:

  1. The lack of defined and ready-to-use tools to assess teaching, teaching-related professional activities, and the scholarship of teaching.
  2. The lack of a respected and rigorous external review process.

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.

BACKGROUND: When faculty with primary research appointments are evaluated for promotion, there are a number of broadly accepted and relatively simple metrics that can be used to evaluate the quantity, quality, and impact of their work. Most of these metrics have intrinsically embedded information that is useful in the assessment. Examples include the impact factor (or reputation) of journals an applicant has published in and knowledge of the competition required to successfully garner funding from a particular extramural source. Importantly, these metrics also involve rigorous peer review, which for the most part was outsourced as part of publication and proposal review processes.

HOWEVER, evaluation of faculty with significant teaching appointments has traditionally been a much more subjective process. At most institutions, evaluating teaching and educational leadership has traditionally come down to student evaluations and/or casual observation by local peers. The RTA sought to develop a process by which a rigorous, meaningful external review could provide summary information about an instructor to administrators. This working group, formed after the RTA Biannual Conference in 2013, has studied processes with similar goals that already exist. The group continues to work to create a sustainable process that might be applied at consortium institutions to aid in the evaluation of faculty who are most engaged in teaching and/or educational leadership. We believe these faculty play essential roles in our colleges and are crucial to the continued success of our programs. Traditional metrics of faculty success are too simplistic and incomplete.

Promotion/Review Packet

 Applicant Toolbox –Guidelines and Instructions for faculty with Teaching and/or Educational Leadership as an area of emphasis.
Reviewer Toolbox Materials / documents used by RTA external reviewers.
(revised from the AAMC Toolbox for Evaluating Educators)

External Peer Review of Teaching Initiative Committee Members:

  • EPRT Chair:  Steve Hines (WSU)
  • Steering Committee Liaison: Phil Mixter (WSU) and Joie Watson (UCD)
  • Support: Rachel Halsey (WSU)

Local Representatives/Coaches


  • Todd Clapp
  • Dean Hendrickson
  • Erica Suchman


  • Brigit Puschner
  • Joie Watson


  • Maria Fahie
  • Diane McClure


  • Patrick Chappell


  • William Davis
  • Steve Hines
  • Phil Mixter