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Scholarly Approaches to Peer Review of Teaching in a Research-intensive University Context:

Summative & Formative Practices in Multi-disciplinary Settings

Wednesday, December 8, 2021
11:30 am–12:45 pm
Online Event

Presented by Visiting Scholar Harry Hubball, PhD
Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada

This presentation describes an institutional initiative intended to address many of these historical shortcomings through the development of scholarly, and therefore more credible, approaches to the PRT within and across the disciplines at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. The peer-review of teaching leadership initiative, led by a team of UBC national teaching fellows, was fuelled by institutional concerns about the quality of student learning experiences and the effectiveness of teaching in a multi-disciplinary research-intensive university context. Canadian universities have long recognized the importance of attending to the evaluation of teaching practices in their particular context; however, the enactment of localized scholarship directed at these practices remains very much in its infancy.

Issues addressed in this presentation include:

  • contemporary approaches to the evaluation of teaching in higher education
  • faculty “buy-in” and the evaluation of teaching in a research-intensive university
  • scholarly approaches to summative and formative performance reviews of teaching (PRT)
  • Faculty-specific engagement in summative and formative (informal to formal) PRT training and implementation
  • strategic institutional supports (funding, expertise, mentoring, technological resources)

Following a brief introduction to compare and contrast related international contexts for PRT, this interactive presentation will engage participants in a dialogue around key processes, challenges and outcomes.

Historically, inadequate means of evaluating teaching have undermined the consideration of teaching in tenure, promotion, and re-appointment cases within research-intensive universities (Arai et al, 2007; Elen, Lindblom-Ylänne, & Clement, 2007; Hammersley-Fletcher & Orsmond, 2004; Shulman, 2011; Zeng, 2020). For the most part, this has been due to the lack of rigour, authenticity, and credibility in peer reviews of teaching. Peer reviews of teaching (PRT) for high-stakes decisions (e.g., consideration for tenure and promotion) face a number of challenges (Chism, 2007; Harris, Farrell, Bell, Devlin, & James, 2008; Hubball & Clarke, 2011; Seldin & Associates, 2006), including:

  • lack of systematically prepared and knowledgeable assessors
  • confusion about the relationship and distinction between formative and summative PRT
  • exclusive reliance on classroom observations by peers or student evaluations of teaching
  • methodological shortcomings that result in less less authentic and credible data
  • potential conflict of interest associated with peers acting as reviewers

BIO: SoEL/SoTL Research in University Settings (pdf)

A full list of the author’s publications and presentations at international universities can be viewed at The University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada Faculty of Education website:

This event is sponsored by the OFDAS Center for Teaching Excellence.

Questions? Contact Us

Meet with Dr. Hubball

Dr. Hubball will be available to meet faculty members on an individual basis on the Tuesdays or Thursdays of November 30, December 2, 6, and 9.

To schedule a meeting to discuss this topic, as well as useful and practical strategies how to publish your educational research in a wide range of SoTL-based journals, email Dr. Hubball at

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