Task Force on Teaching Evaluation - Appendices
Appendix A, Perspectives on Teaching Evaluation at UW-Green Bay
The cover letter and survey distributed to all faculty and instructional academic staff (total number = 190) in January 1998 follows.
January 21, 1998
The Task Force on Teaching Evaluation was formed in Fall 1997 in response to needs expressed at an earlier Unit Chairs' meeting. The group's charge is to carefully examine current policies, procedures, and instruments used to evaluate teaching at UW-Green Bay and to develop a model that addresses the following problem.
Statement of the Problem. The evaluation of teaching is a major component of all tenure and promotion decisions, merit salary deliberations, and post-tenure review processes. Currently, teaching evaluation rarely involves more than self-evaluation and the use of forms completed by students. As a result, many faculty executive committees and personnel committees may rely too much "on the numbers" when making their judgments about teaching quality. In addition, the current process provides little information about student learning and the effectiveness of specific methods that can be used to help faculty improve their teaching. Such reliance on a single method of evaluation limits both the breadth and depth of information used for decision-making and teaching improvement purposes.
The model developed by the group is expected to:
- Provide information that can be used by (a) individual faculty to enhance their teaching skills; (b) academic units to support the merit, promotion, tenure, and post-tenure review process; and (c) faculty personnel committees and administrative leaders as part of their promotion and tenure deliberations;
- Be flexible enough to allow all academic units at UW-Green Bay to adopt it if they desire but structured enough to allow the collection of reliable and valid information;
- Be consistent with current UW-Green Bay and System policies regarding the evaluation of teaching;
- Include a component that deals with student learning; and
- Involve students, peers and administrators in the evaluation process through the use of multiple procedures.
Please note that it is not the Task Force's charge to develop a model or instrument that will be imposed for use upon faculty members.
To inform its efforts, the Task Force needs the views of faculty members on the evaluation of teaching. The first method for gathering these views is the attached survey. Follow-up meetings with faculty groups will be scheduled during March. The content of those meetings will be greatly influenced by the results of this survey.
Some important points about this survey are:
- Because there is diversity in teaching situations, some questions may seem inappropriate to you. Please answer these questions as best you can, and write in explanations as you see fit.
- Any comments or suggestions you wish to make are most welcome. Please write any comments on the survey itself, or send them under separate cover via intercampus mail to the Task Force on Teaching Evaluation, CL 825.
- Responses will be aggregated; it will not be possible to connect responses with any individuals.
- Return the survey via intercampus mail to the Task Force on Teaching Evaluation, CL 825, by February 4, 1998.
- If you have any questions about the work of the Task Force or about the survey, please discuss them with one of us.
Your cooperation is vitally important if the results of this study are to be a valid representation of the views of UW-Green Bay faculty members. Thank you!
Adam Butler, Assistant Professor
Carol Emmons, Professor
John Harris, Associate Professor of Faculty at UW-Green Bay
1. Below are some opinions about teaching evaluation. Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement by checking the appropriate box. (Note: Boxes have been deleted for the WWW version of this document to conserve space.)Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree No Opinion Teaching would be weighted more in the personnel process if the quality of information about teaching were improved. Departments should consider a greater variety of kinds and sources of evidence about the quality of teaching than at present. Student evaluations of teaching should be used for improvement purposes. I have little confidence in the reliability and validity of student evaluations of teaching as conducted in my department. My department typically has sufficient evidence to make reasonable decisions on the quality of a faculty member's teaching. Results of student evaluations of teaching have helped improve the quality of my teaching. Student evaluations of teaching should be used for personnel decisions. I have made changes in my teaching as a result of student evaluations. Efforts to improve the quality and reliability of student evaluations of teaching should be given high priority. In evaluating teaching for personnel decisions, there is too great a reliance on student evaluations of teaching. Student evaluations of teaching are not taken seriously by most of my students. The importance placed upon student evaluations for promotion and tenure purposes has been a cause of grade inflation in my department. Instructional materials (such as course syllabi, reading lists, examinations, course assignments) should be evaluated by colleagues with the same care as is used in reviewing scholarly publications. The current personnel review system results in decisions which are fair and equitable vis a vis teaching. 2. For each item in a. through z. (below), please indicate:
Part I. Whether the information is currently used in your area to evaluate faculty members' teaching.
Part II. Whether you think the following information should be used in your area to evaluate faculty members' teaching.
(Note: Boxes have been deleted for the WWW version of this document to conserve space.)Part I. Info currently used in your area? Yes or No Part II. Should this information be used in your area to evaluate faculty members' teaching? Should Definitely Be Used, Should Probably Be Used, Should Probably Not Be Used, Should Definitely Not Be Used, No Opinion Statistical summaries of student evaluations of teaching. Systematic interviews or surveys of graduating students or recent alumni. Comparison of student course ratings with ratings of other faculty teaching similar courses. Representative student comments from teaching evaluations. Student self-assessment of skills acquired in a course. Colleague observations in consultative and clinical settings. Course materials, including syllabi, assignments, readings, and exams. Analyses of course materials (e.g., syllabi, assignments) by colleagues who know the field. The faculty member's own statement of course goals and how well they were achieved. Placement or career performance of alumni. Number of thesis committees chaired or research projects supervised. Letters solicited from a representative or random sample of current students. Letters solicited from a representative or random sample of recent alumni. Student learning as measured by performance in subsequent courses, pre- and post-tests, or external evaluation of student performance. Colleague evaluations of classroom teaching based on team teaching or on multiple classroom visits. Record of attracting high quality students to an academic program or course. Colleague assessments of the quality of students' scholarly work or professional skills. Scholarly productivity or professional reputation of former students. Colleague observations of presentations in colloquia or professional settings. Record of involvement in instructional improvement projects/activities. Record of involvement in instructional projects/activities with an interdisciplinary focus. Publication of textbooks or other instructional materials. Record of incorporation of instructional technology in courses. Number of independent studies, internships, honors projects, distinction in the major projects, and practica supervised. Number of students advised. Videotape of representative sample of class meetings. 3. One measure of teaching currently used by many faculty members at UW-Green Bay is the Course Comments Questionnaire (CCQ). The CCQ asks students to assign a numerical rating to each of seven questions, as follows:
- Organization: Considering how material was presented in class, integration of class material with assignments and exams, clarity of course objectives and procedures, how would you rate the course's organization? Poor (1) to Excellent (10)
- General Intellectual Development: Quite apart from specific course content, how much did the course contribute to your general intellectual development, e.g., ability to reason, knowledge of other fields, thinking creatively, etc.? Very Little (1) to Very Much (10)
- Instructor-Student Relationship: Considering such factors as helpfulness to students, sensitivity to students' feelings, acceptance of questions and different views, how would you rate the instructor's relationship with students? Poor (1) to Excellent (10)
- Importance and Relevance: Was the course important and relevant for your own development in terms of appreciating new perspectives, broadening your outlook, understanding social issues, etc.? Irrelevant (1) to Very Relevant (10)
- Difficulty: Considering such factors as exams, readings, assignments, and type of material covered, how would you rate the difficulty of this course? Very Easy (1) to Very Hard (10)
- Learning Course Content: How well do you think you achieved the course objectives, i.e., learned the content and/or skills emphasized in the course? Very Little (1) to Very Well (10)
- Overall: Considering everything, how would you rate this course? Poor (1) to Excellent (10)
(copyright, 1998, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay)
If you have used the CCQ, please answer the following. If you have not used the CCQ, please go to question 4.
a. The major reason(s) I use the CCQ is/are:
b. If I could change the CCQ in any way, I would:
4. Background Information
a. My area is:
- Arts & Humanities
- Natural Sciences
- Professional Programs
- Social Sciences
- Other: __________________________________
b. My title is:
- Lecturer/Senior Lecturer
- Assistant Professor
- Associate Professor
- Other: __________________________________
c. How many years have you been a member of the UW-Green Bay faculty? _____ years
d. Are you now or have you ever served as a department (discipline) chairperson at UW-Green Bay?
e. Are you now or have you ever served as a budgetary unit chairperson at UW-Green Bay?
5. Additional comments:
Appendix B, Questions for Student Evaluations
The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (EEOC, 1978) provide a clear statement about the measurement of job performance: "Whatever criteria are used should represent important or critical work behaviors or work outcomes" (Sec. 14.B.3.). In addition to the legal importance of using behavioral criteria, it is generally acknowledged by organizational researchers that behaviorally based measures of performance are superior to non-behaviorally based (i.e., trait) measures. The advantages of behavioral measures are many:
- They minimize inferences about performance by raters.
- They decrease subjectivity and bias in ratings.
- They have relatively high levels of reliability.
- They clearly define what is desired performance.
- They provide specific feedback to ratees about their strengths and weaknesses.
To encourage units to utilize behavioral measures of classroom performance, we compiled a list of important teaching behaviors indicating good or poor performance. (Items denoting poor performance are marked with the symbol [R], indicating that they should be reverse scored.) The relevance of these behaviors may vary by unit, department, course, class, or perhaps even instructor. We suggest that individual instructors meet with their mentor, unit chair, or executive committee to define which of the behaviors are relevant to the courses they teach. There may be additional behaviors not included on the list which individuals may wish to add; any items that are added should be phrased to be consistent with the other items in the instrument.
The items should be rated on the following 5-point "frequency" scale: 1 = almost never, 2 = rarely, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, 5 = very often. Individual items within dimensions (e.g., clarity) may be averaged to provide a "bigger picture" of instructor effectiveness. However, the scores on individual items or dimensions should be used for developmental purposes only. The following sources contain more information about behavioral measures of performance:
Bernardin, H. J., & Beatty, R. W. (1984). Performance appraisal: Assessing human behavior at work. Boston: Kent.
Murphy, K. R., & Cleveland, J. N. (1991). Performance appraisal: An organizational perspective. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Wexley, K. N., & Klimoski, R. (1984). Performance appraisal: An update. In K. Rowland and G. Ferris (Eds.), Research in personnel and human resources (vol. 2). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Clarity -- method used to explain or clarify concepts and principles
- Uses enough examples to clarify the material
- Gets side tracked often [R]
- Digresses from major theme of lecture [R]
- Relates course material to the outside ("real") world
- Uses a variety of techniques to convey course content
- Gives several examples of each concept
- Uses concrete everyday examples to explain concepts and principles
- Fails to define new or unfamiliar terms [R]
- Repeats difficult ideas several times
- Stresses most important points by pausing, speaking slowly, raising voice, and so on
- Uses graphs or diagrams to facilitate explanation
- Points out practical applications of concepts
- Answers students' questions thoroughly
- Sticks to the point in answering students' questions
- Suggests ways of memorizing complicated ideas
- Writes key terms on blackboard or overhead screen
- Explains subject matter in familiar colloquial language
- Confuses key terms [R]
- Provides confusing answers to student questions [R]
- Is unable to answer questions in related fields [R]
- Relates lecture material to the text
Enthusiasm -- use of non-verbal behavior to solicit student attention and interest
- Speaks in a dramatic or expressive way
- Moves about while lecturing
- Gestures with hands or arms
- Exhibits facial gestures or expressions
- Avoids eye contact with students [R]
- Walks among students
- Gestures with head or body
- Tells jokes or humorous anecdotes
- Reads lecture verbatim from prepared notes or text [R]
- Smiles or laughs while teaching
- Shows distracting mannerisms [R]
Interaction -- techniques used to foster students' class participation
- Encourages students' questions and comments during lectures
- Criticizes students when they make errors [R]
- Provides feedback on student progress
- Praises students for good ideas
- Asks questions of individual students
- Asks questions of class as a whole
- Provides opportunities for students to ask questions
- Encourages students to share their perspectives in class
- Responds to student questions
- Incorporates students' ideas into lecture
- Presents challenging, thought-provoking ideas
- Uses a variety of media and activities in class
- Asks rhetorical questions
- Treats all students equally
- Supervises student learning without "taking over"
Organization -- ways of organizing or structuring subject matter
- Uses headings and subheadings to organize lectures
- Puts outline of lecture on blackboard or overhead screen
- Clearly indicates transition from one topic to the next
- Gives preliminary overview of lecture at beginning of class
- Explains how each topic fits into the course as a whole
- Begins class with a review of topics covered last time
- Periodically summarizes points previously made
- Returns graded material in a timely manner
- Follows the course syllabus
- Provides an outline of lectures to students
Pacing -- rate of information presentation, efficient use of time
- Dwells excessively on obvious points [R]
- Covers very little material in class sessions [R]
- Asks if students understand before proceeding to next topic
- Presents material too rapidly [R]
Disclosure -- explicitness concerning course requirements and grading criteria
- Advises students as to how to prepare for tests or exams
- Provides sample exam questions
- Tells students exactly what is expected of them on tests, essays, or assignments
- States objectives of each lecture
- Reminds students of test dates or assignment deadlines
- States objectives of course as a whole
- Explains criteria for grading course assignments
- Tells students how they will be evaluated
Delivery -- characteristics of voice relevant to classroom teaching
- Stutters, mumbles or slurs words [R]
- Speaks at appropriate volume
- Speaks clearly
- Speaks at appropriate pace
- Says "um" or "ah" [R]
- Speaks in a monotone voice [R]
- Speaks loud enough for students to hear
- Writes illegibly on the blackboard or overhead [R]
Rapport -- quality of interpersonal relations between teacher and students
- Addresses individual students by name
- Announces availability for consultation outside of class
- Available outside of class for consultations with students
- Offers to help students with problems
- Shows tolerance of other points of view
- Talks with students before or after class
Student Teamwork -- ways of encouraging students to function as a team
- Encourages students to work together to complete assignments or study
- Encourages students to share class notes or other information about course material
- Allows students to decide whether to work alone or with others
- Provides small group learning activities during class sessions
- Encourages class discussion via E-mail or the internet
Self-Learning -- ways of encouraging self-learning
- Allows students to choose their own paper or essay topics
- Allows students to select readings for the course
- Allows students to negotiate with the instructor over course requirements
Appendix C, Portfolio SamplesPORTFOLIO 1
Pat Smith, Department of Psychology
Table of Contents
- Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Responsibilities
- Syllabi, Study Guides, Exams
- Measures of Teaching Effectiveness
- Teaching Improvement Activities
- Examples of Course Enrichment
- Teaching Related Committee Work and Activities
Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Responsibilities
Teaching Philosophy. My teaching philosophy and teaching strategies are a direct function of the set of the assumptions that I carry into the classroom with me. They are: 1) students are able to think critically and use their intellect if the learning environment is structured to promote active learning; 2) a safe, but demanding learning environment fosters the highest levels of learning and thinking; demanding in the sense that students are continually asked to grapple with and think about the important issues related to the topics of the course and safe in the sense that everyone's ideas and perspective are valuable and are worthy of discussion; and 3) my role at teacher is to implement processes that facilitate learning, remove obstacles that impede learning, and use student insights and experiences to further learning.
I use a relatively informal participative, lecture-discussion style of delivery, where I present key ideas and then turn to the students for their insights. For example, in my Introductory Psychology course, if we are trying to understand a theory of human behavior, I summarize the main tenets of the theory and then ask the students to draw on other courses they have had and their life experiences to see if the theory makes sense, can be applied to a specific situation, and the like. My intent is to actively involve the students in the learning process and to help them make connections between what they have learned in other classes or their life and what they are learning in the class.
I have found that this participative approach works equally well for both undergraduate and graduate courses, although graduate students are generally more adept at exploring the subtle aspects of issues. I have also found that students must feel safe to make these connections and share their insights. I spend a good deal of time, especially at the beginning of the course, making the environment safe. First, I learn each of my students' first names so that I can call them by name (I usually have 30 to 50 students in each of my classes). Second, I use exercises early on in the semester that encourage students to share their ideas with the class. What is important is that, by design, these exercises clearly have no right or wrong answers, which makes talking and expressing ideas less threatening. Third, I have discovered that learning, thinking, and expression of ideas reinforce each other; the more students are given the opportunity to express themselves, the better they do it, and the more willing they are to do it. Finally, I have great respect for my students and confidence in their abilities which, in turn, fosters a certain openness and willingness to express ideas and take risks on both my part and their parts.
My teaching philosophy is informed by the strong belief that I can always improve and build upon what happens in the classroom. Continuous improvement has caused me to constantly question how I approach a given class or topic in the class and wonder what can be done to make the topic more accessible by my students. This quest for continued improvement, though frustrating at times, has brought me many times to the offices of other professors, soliciting ideas, sharing strategies, and sharing defeats. Presenting papers and attending workshops on effective teaching over the years have been continual sources of ideas and ways to improve my teaching.
Teaching Responsibilities. My teaching responsibilities include courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. At the undergraduate level, I teach two sections of Introductory Psychology and two sections of Abnormal Psychology. At the graduate level, I offer the Seminar in Psychological Issues course and a Multivariate Statistics course.
Syllabi, Study Guides and Exams
The appendix contains sample exams, syllabi for each course, and schedules for course I have taught in the past year. The course "information sheets" provide the students with a record of exam schedules, extra-credit options, and relative weighting of homework and exam scores for course grade determination. Also included in the appendix are representative chapter study guides for Introductory Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. Each chapter study guide contains a summary of objectives, skills, review list, and key concepts.
At the undergraduate level, examinations are designed to assess the students' understanding of the basic concepts and terminology of the course. The essay portion of the exams are used to assess the students' ability to relate the concepts in a meaningful way.
At the gradate level, the exams are used to assess the students' ability to critique and link the course concepts. Also, they are asked to write three papers per semester that accomplish the same purpose.
Measures of Teaching Effectiveness
A. Student Evaluations (See full report in Appendix)
My student evaluation scores are consistently high, above the department average. Below are the results for the Fall 1997 semester:
- Motivates Best Work (Department Average = 4.1; My Average = 4.2)
- Explains Clearly (Department Average = 4.1; My Average = 4.2)
- Amount learned (Department Average = 4.1; My Average = 4.7)
- Teaching Ability (Department Average = 4.3; My Average = 4.9)
- Professional Behavior (Department Average = 4.5; My Average = 5.5)
- Overall Rating (Department Average = 4.1; My Average = 4.8)
Based on the six point scale, my scores were consistently good.
Additionally, when asked if students would take another class from me, 114 of 116 students said yes. Of the two students who declined, one stated the grading scale was too high and the other student said that the homework load was excessive. Both of these complaints I view as positive and not a reflection of poor teaching performance.
Below are examples of evaluation comments I feel convey the overall mode expressed by my students:
- "Is well prepared"
- "Explains well"
- "Makes me think"
- "Gets us involved"
- "Relates well to students"
- "Would take another class if I wasn't graduating"
B. Peer Evaluations (See full reports in Appendix)
- Classroom observation, Introductory Psychology, Dr. A. Smith, Oct 14, 1997. "A great lecture! For 60 minutes, Dr. Smith kept the students on the edge of their chairs talking about the ethics of psychological experimentation. He delivered the lecture with authority, clarity, and depth. Students felt free to comment and ask questions"
- Classroom observation, Introductory Psychology, Dr. B. Jones, Nov 6, 1997. "Discussed the central premise of Skinner's Theory of Operant Conditioning. Instructor was well prepared, enthusiastic, and interesting."
- Classroom observation, Abnormal Psychology, Dr. J. Evans, Sep 18, 1997). "This was an extremely well presented discussion of addiction. Students were brought into the discussion and Dr. Smith handled their questions with ease."
Teaching Improvement Activities
- Under a program sponsored by the Center for Teaching Improvement, I had one of my lectures videotaped (210, Introductory Psychology, Oct 1, 1997). I reviewed the tape with the director of the Center for Teaching Improvement and a colleague. It proved to be valuable. It made me aware of my teaching style, the way I phrase classroom questions, the way I respond to classroom questions, my physical movement and intonation, and my level of reliance on written notes. I received helpful advice and will implement many of the suggestions in the spring offering of the course.
- I have prepared a teaching portfolio in consultation with my departmental chairperson. The process of developing a portfolio has been extremely helpful, especially in the area of teaching improvement. Although the development of strategies to improve teaching is a difficult process, I found that the process brought me the point where I analyzed the expectations and biases I take with me into the classroom, my goals and objectives on a course-specific level, my methods for achieving those goals, and the reasons I chose teaching as a profession. As a result of this effort, two improvement strategies emerged: 1) greater reliance on questioning in the classroom and less reliance on straight lecture; and 2) clearly communicating course expectations to the students, including clear goals on the syllabus and a concise discussion of grading expectations.
- I attended a two day teaching improvement workshop entitled "Using the Socratic Method", sponsored by the Center for Teaching Improvement (Nov 3-4, 1997).
- I attended a three day workshop entitled "Conducting Effective Classroom Discussion", also sponsored by the Center for Teaching Improvement (Dec 6-8, 1997).
Examples of Course Enrichment
A lecture area that I felt was weak in my Introductory Psychology Class was a discussion of the development of psychological thought through the 20th century. The students viewed it as a list of names and dates to memorize. I felt there was a larger picture that was missing.
I created a 20th century time line, highlighting major historical events, changes in sociological and anthropological thought, movements in literature and art, significant inventions, and key changes in economic thought. Within this context, I talked about the development of psychological thought and added key dates and names to the time line.
This holistic approach has worked well. Students see the development of psychological thought as an extension of other movements and not just as a list of names and dates.
In Spring 1998, I received the Dean's Outstanding Teacher Award. To be considered for this award, the faculty member must teach full time and rank in the top 15% of the department according to student and peer evaluations.
Teaching Related Committee Work and Activities
I have been on the Faculty Teaching Improvement Committee for three years and have recently been elected its chairperson. I am a member of the Graduate Faculty Board of Advisors and the Undergraduate Faculty Board of Advisors. At the departmental level, I was appointed to the Departmental Curriculum Review Committee and the Mentoring Committee.
Other related teaching activities include:
- faculty mentor to three new faculty members;
- major professor for three graduate students
- member of three graduate student thesis committees
- gave a departmental three hour workshop (Feb 14th) on effective teaching.
Renée Monet, Department of Art
Table of Contents
- Teaching Assignments
- Additional Teaching
- Approach to Teaching: Goals, Techniques, & Evaluation Methods
- Teaching Improvement Activities
- Student Accomplishments
- Syllabi, Course Materials, Exams, and Student Work Samples
- 168-105 Drawing [folder 1]
- 168-220/321/421 Sculpture [folder 2]
- 168-490 Contemporary Art: 1945 - Present [folder 3]
- 242-272 Women in the Visual Arts [folder 4]
- Documentation of Teaching Activities [folder 5]
- Evaluations of Teaching [folder 6]
Spring 1997/Fall 1997
- 168-105 Drawing
- 168-220 Introduction to Sculpture
- 168-321 Intermediate Sculpture
- 168-421 Advanced Sculpture
- 168-490 Contemporary Art
- 168-220 Introduction to Sculpture
- 168-321 Intermediate Sculpture
- 168-421 Advanced Sculpture
- 242-272 Women in the Visual Arts
- one course reassignment for development of 242-272
- 168-220 Introduction to Sculpture
- 168-321 Intermediate Sculpture
- 168-421 Advanced Sculpture
- 168-490 Contemporary Art
- 168-498 Interdisciplinary Artworks (Richard Peterman, Fall 1997, 2 credits)
- 168-498 Sculpture-Special Projects (Kris Gerrits, Spring 1997, 1 credit)
- 168-498 Metal Sculpture (Jon Hemmel, Fall 1997, 1 credit)
- 168-490 Interdisciplinary Art: Conceptual/Performance (Shania Conan, Fall 1997, 3 credits)
- 168-498 Art Criticism: Theory and Practice (Jules Eastphal, Fall 1997, 2 credits)
- 168-498 Metal Forming and Patination (Jon Hemmel, Spring 1998, 2 credits)
Senior Exhibition Advisor
1997: Raquel Anders (installation)
- Brandon Bening (forging)
- Shania Conan (installation, performance, audio, video, website)
- Wanda Page (forging, welding)
- Michelle Janke (wood sculpture)
- Joseph Banacek (installation; co-advisor)
- Richard Peterman (mixed media kinetics; co-advisor)
- UW-Green Bay International Film Classics Series (introduction to films by the Brothers Quay, Jan Svankmajer, and Nick Park); May 6, 1997
- 424-335 Literary Eras: German Romanticism (lecture on Nature, Art, and the Romantic Impulse); March 31, 1998
Approach to Teaching
(narratives for individual courses may be found in the folders listed in the Table of Contents)
My life as a student was fueled by a general curiosity about the world, and I see teaching as a continuation (albeit somewhat privileged) of my student status. I envision teaching as a cooperative process of discovery, and I understand my central responsibility to be helping students to cultivate their ability to think in diverse modes.
It is my desire that students develop intellectual courage as well as ability, and that they discover the pleasures of artistic and intellectual pursuits. For me, these last two items are intertwined: art is primarily an articulation of ideas, and (at its best) thinking is a supremely aesthetic activity. This conceptualization is fortuitous given my teaching of both studio art and art history, for these have traditionally been very separate and sometimes hostile disciplines.
One more specific goal I have recently focused on is this split between studio art and art history. I have been working in all my classes to enhance studio students' appreciation of the importance of familiarity with art historical/theoretical/critical contexts and discourses. At the same time, I have built a studio or praxis component into the history courses.
My enthusiasm for teaching art derives in part from my vision of the vital role of the arts in general education and the broader culture. As the arts embrace the full range of human experience and thought, students from various disciplines can bring their interests to bear on a common topic with a specific work of art as a paradigm. In this process, students learn directly about art works, use those art works to amplify their understanding of their other endeavors, and build an appreciation of the interrelatedness of the whole spectrum of human experience.
Lately I have worked to provide students with additional tools such as samples of exams, papers, and projects; special sessions with Library and Writing Center personnel; modeling of specific reading/analytic techniques in class; and more frequent "meta-level" discussions about our purpose. This is intended to address a growing lack of student study skills, critical thinking abilities, and other requisites for academic success.
A technique I have used to address the history/practice issue in 168-490 Contemporary Art is a collaborative "glossary" in which each student (and their teacher) contributes a page defining and illustrating a specific art movement under study. A volunteer student committee determines the format and concept for the pages, which are produced in an edition large enough to provide each student with a copy. Formats have ranged from "Dressing David" (paper doll clothes for a replica of Michelangelo's David) to books bound with twigs, or cheese boxes filled with altered three-dimensional objects.
One issue I raise in the Contemporary Art course is the role of criticism in the contemporary art world. To help address this, I have assigned an article that tracks current critical/theoretical stances in art history and another article in which a Milwaukee Journal music critic responds to readers' criticism of him. All the students then write a critical review of the current exhibition in UW-Green Bay's Lawton Gallery or the Neville Museum. In addition to grading the reviews myself, I turn copies over to the Fourth Estate editors and they select at least one review for publication. Art students are often eager critics of art criticism, and this exercise has been very useful in raising their awareness of the intricacies of the critical endeavor. (Samples of the 168-490 projects may be found in folder 3.)
A final example of my approach is my sculpture students' "Projects in the Landscape" (see folder 2). After considering examples of environmental art and articulating some of the central concerns in such work, students develop proposals for temporary outdoor works on the UW-Green Bay campus. The students must invent works that meet restrictions imposed by the Arboretum Director and the Director of Facilities Management. This is an extensive exercise in real-life art-making, ranging through the proposal process to addressing the execution of a large-scale project and attendant vandalism, environmental, public space, and maintenance issues. This project is indicative of my approach in that I endeavor to create assignments which require substantial integrative effort by students. The assignments are not always on such a grand physical scale, but inevitably involve concerted acts of thinking, making, and contextualizing.
I have employed a number of methods to evaluate my teaching effectiveness. Among these are standard CCQ forms, additional questions on CCQ forms, observation by colleagues, student feedback devices, and student performance. I have found the most specific and reliable evaluation method to be a consistent polling of students. These polls are of two basic types: written and oral. I request periodic anonymous written feedback from students (the periodicity varying with the course) in all my classes. (Samples of these instruments may be found in folder 6.) In addition, I frequently ask students for in-class verbal status reports. These polls are particularly effective because the organization of the course, the nature of the material, and our daily practice encourage analysis, critique, and interpretation. That is, the students need merely apply techniques they have already learned to the teaching of the course itself.
I evaluate my success in part through retrospective comments by students. The responses of non-art students who say that the courses have been influential and important to their development are particularly gratifying. I have also been pleased by the number of students who have gone on to pursue graduate studies in art history and criticism, especially as UW-Green Bay does not offer an art history major. This is the most immediate evidence I can offer for having passed on my passion for art and my curiosity about its history and practice.
Teaching Improvement Activities
- Macintosh training, UW-Green Bay; 4/9/97
- UW-Green Bay Task Force on Teaching Evaluation (study of literature on teaching evaluation, survey of faculty/staff, report on findings, proposal); 1997-98
- Attendance at CAST (coalition of UW System sculpture professors) conference (information exchange on aspects of teaching sculpture including health and safety, liability, technical and pedagogical issues); UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout, 10/2 - 10/4/97
- Attendance at College Art Association Annual Conference (including sessions on the pedagogy of art history, teaching studio art in the electronic age, etc.); Toronto, 2/25 - 2/28/98
- Attendance at Guerrilla Girls lecture (gender and the teaching of art history); Milwaukee, 2/17/98
- Attendance at the International Sculpture Center's biennial conference (including a three-day "techshop" on foundry building and processes, an effort I'm currently engaged in at UW-Green Bay); Chicago, 5/16 - 5/23/98 (supported with a grant from the Faculty Development Council)
- Asynchronous Course Development Faculty Training (development of a new web-based course Art and Ideas to be offered through Extended Degree and the Nursing program); training in August 1998 through 1999, with delivery in 1999-2000
- Welding study at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, 9/14 - 11/30/98
- Solo exhibitions in Gallery 407 by Jon Hemmel (forged metal sculptures); Shania Conan (objects, images, and installation); and Tom Gilbert (installation); Group exhibition by Richard Peterman, Tom Gilbert, and Brian Jameson; student participation in all departmental theme shows; 1997 - 1998
- Exhibition of work by Brandon Bening, Shania Conan, Wanda Page, Richard Peterman, and Tom Gilbert at UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire (UW System-wide sculpture exhibition); 10/97
- Six of the 61 works in the 24th Annual Juried Student Exhibition were produced in my sculpture classes (an improved showing); one won a Juror's Award; 2/26 - 4/3/97
- Ten of the 67 works in the 25th Annual Juried Student Exhibition were produced in my classes (one was from introductory drawing); three won awards; 11/19 - 12/18/97
- Of the seven senior exhibitions receiving commendations, six were students I advised or co-advised
- Wanda Page, Jon Hemmel, and Brandon Bening all sold works produced in sculpture class
- Karen Powers was third author on a book chapter I co-authored with Dean Rodeheaver of the Human Development faculty: "Context and Identity in Women's Late Life Creativity" in Creativity in Later Life, Carolyn Adams Price, ed., Springer Press 1997