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Lucas Center for Faculty Development

Lucas Center for Faculty Development

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Peer Observation of Teaching

 
 

Peer Observation of Teaching (POT)

Purpose:

Formative Feedback
 

Process:

At the Lucas Center we view peer observation of teaching (POT) as an effective mechanism for assisting faculty to achieve their professional goals related to the art and science of teaching. Research strongly suggests that POT (being observed and observing others) can provide an opportunity for collegial conversations about teaching, while also enabling reflective practice and providing opportunities for the provision of developmental advice (Drew et al., 2016; Hammersley-Fletcher & Orsmond, 2005; Hendry & Oliver, 2012; Pressick-Kilborn & te Riele, 2008).
 
In order to most closely align POT with the mission, vision, and goals of the Lucas Center, we employ a coaching model that conceptualizes POT as a formative, collaborative, and developmental series of activities conducted between a Lucas Center representative and a faculty member who wishes to engage in a dialogue about her/his teaching (in contrast to a summative, more formally evaluative approach used by some institutions). In this spirit of mutuality, all observers commit to opening their classrooms to observation by those they observe.
 
Despite our intention to enact a process that is useful and fulfilling for both the faculty member being observed and the observer, we acknowledge that vulnerability and concerns about judgment are inherent in the process. Therefore, we ensure that confidentiality is built into the POT procedure, and written reports are provided directly and only to the observed faculty members when requested. Peer observers are encouraged to share their experiences of and feelings about being observed in their own classes in order to foster trust and mutuality in the observation process.
 
The Lucas Center will not provide letters or reports attesting to the quality or effectiveness of one’s teaching based on a single observation. However, when faculty members provide a clear set of learning objectives for a given lesson during the pre-observation meeting, observers can comment on the extent to which those objectives have been achieved.
 

Procedure

Faculty wishing to schedule an observation should follow these steps.
 
  1. At least three weeks before the class session you would like observed, contact the Lucas Center to ensure an observer is available and to arrange a pre-observation consultation. 
  2. Email your observer the course syllabus and any materials you believe would help her/him better understand your goals for the class and how you intend to accomplish them. 
  3. Attend a brief (typically 15 – 30 minutes) pre-observation meeting, during which you will a) discuss your general approach to teaching and any specific elements of your lesson (e.g., teaching methods, style, student engagement) about which you would like feedback and b) learn about the observer’s approach to conducting an observation. 
  4. Within a week of the observed class, participate in a post-observation meeting, during which you and the observer will discuss your respective perceptions of the class, and the observer will provide feedback and suggestions (often including detailed descriptive notes) typically in direct response to the areas of focus discussed in the pre-observation meeting. 
We strongly believe that peer observation of teaching can play a valuable role for all faculty who engage in a reflective process of professional improvement. We hope to visit many of your classrooms and encourage you to observe the teaching of Lucas Center personnel at your convenience.
 
 

Trained Peer Observers

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Menaka Navaratna

Menaka Navaratna is an associate professor of Mathematics at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he has served as the department chair of mathematics division. His terminal degree is in the area of applied mathematics where real-life applications are modeled using differential equations. Since joining FGCU, he has served on many committees and teams. He was a member of CAS Peer Review and Support Committee (PRSC), University Curriculum Team (UCT), FGCU Senate and the chair of the CAS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (CAS UCC). He has completed several Lucas Center Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) which are devoted to enhancing teaching, learning, and the university experience.

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Alayde Barbosa

Alayde Barbosa (Alli) started teaching at Florida Gulf Coast University as an instructor of Geology in 2014. She is now an instructor II who has been an active participant of the Lucas Center Programs to improve her teaching. She is a geologist with a masters and a PhD in Geochemistry. She is very passionate about Geology and teaching. She is originally from Brazil and  enjoy the opportunity to be helpful to other faculty with their teaching.

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Angel Taylor

Angel Taylor is an Instructor II of English in the Department of Language and Literature at Florida Gulf Coast University. Angel has participated in several Course Design Academies with the Lucas Center for Faculty Development, and many other workshops provided there.  She believes in the benefits of actively engaging in the process of refining and improving her pedagogy to best accommodate her students’ varied learning styles.  Angel has attended several conferences about student centered learning, and has presented at several conferences, locally and nationally, regarding the successes of incorporating student centered learning into her curriculum. She is also actively involved with several assessment initiatives here at Florida Gulf Coast University.

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Tatiana Schuss

A native of France, Tatiana Schuss teaches French courses of all levels and actively works on the development of the French program in the Department of Language and Literature in CAS. She serves as faculty adviser to the French Club whose objective is to promote French language and culture on campus. She studied at the Université de Bourgogne, in Dijon France where she obtained her Master 1 in the Teaching of French as a Foreign Language. She also holds a Master of Arts in the Teaching of Languages, with dual emphases in French and TESOL, from the University of Southern Mississippi. In addition, she has worked as an interpreter for a private company and the US Department of State.


Her formation in pedagogy has led her to focus on various areas surrounding foreign and second language teaching, such as second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, communicative-language teaching, and language learning strategies. She has presented on teaching pedagogy in various conferences. She is strong believer of collaboration with peers in teaching and pedagogy development.

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Brenda Thomas

Brenda Thomas is the Director of the University Colloquium program and an instructor in the Department of Integrated Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University.  Though her education centered around environmental science, specifically disturbance ecology, her recent research interests have focused on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  Brenda has participated in many Lucas Center Academies and Faculty Learning Communities devoted to student-centered learning.  She was a participant in the launch of the Lucas Center’s Student Faculty Partnership Program.

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Lynn Jaffe

Lynn Jaffe is program director and professor of occupational therapy at Florida Gulf Coast University. She began mentoring faculty through the Educational Innovation Institute at the Medical College of Georgia (part of Augusta University) before transitioning to FGCU. Her research focus is teaching strategies to promote critical thinking. She also has background in evidence-based practice and educational games.

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Erik Insko

Erik Insko is an associate professor of mathematics at Florida Gulf Coast University.  He has been a faculty mentor for the Lucas Center's New Faculty Academy since 2016, and he regularly participates in peer observations of teaching.  He is dedicated to scholarly teaching and regularly attends Lucas Center Programs to improve his pedagogy.  Dr. Insko also maintains an active research program in mathematics and computer science that actively incorporates undergraduate and master's students.  He has won several university-wide awards for his efforts in research and mentoring including: FGCU's Junior Faculty Scholarship Excellence Award 2015-2016, FGCU's Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Award 2015-2016, FGCU's Aquila Award for Outstanding Student Scholarship Support 2017-2018, and FGCU's Student Success Champion Award 2018-2019.  

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Tanya Huffman

Tanya Huffman is a Level III Mathematics Instructor at Florida Gulf Coast University where she has been teaching undergraduate mathematics and statistics courses since 2007. She is the coordinator of business calculus sections and the recipient of the 2015 FGCU Senior Faculty Teaching Award. Tanya is a member of The FGCU Whitaker Center for STEM Education Leadership Team and a co-PI on NSF Widening Implementation & Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms (WIDER) Grant for STEM Professional Academy to Reinvigorate the Culture of Teaching (SPARCT) at FGCU. Her research interests are in mathematics education with specialty area in project-based learning. She regularly presents her innovative teaching techniques at the faculty professional development workshops and conferences. Since 2014, she has been directing enrichment summer programs for middle school students.

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Roderick Rolle

Roderick L. Rolle is a third-generation teacher that has been practicing his craft since 1998. While attending Florida A & M University, Roderick began teaching through a teaching assistantship grant. He received this grant from 1997-2000 to pursue a master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology. As partial fulfillment of that grant, Roderick was trained and was required to teach Biology classes at Florida A & M University. From 2000 until 2004, Roderick was awarded an additional teaching assistantship to pursue a doctoral degree in biological sciences at Tennessee State University.  As partial fulfillment of that grant, he was again trained extensively in how to teach science effectively at the collegiate level. While pursuing that degree, Vanderbilt University recruited Dr. Rolle to help pioneer a new teaching fellowship program that would teach science to non-college. In 2003, Dr. Rolle and 15 fellow graduate students were awarded the (National Science Foundation) NSF grant to be trained and to teach science to middle school kids in the greater Nashville area. Rolle graduated in 2004 and did a brief Postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroscience within the college of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science at Florida A & M University. Dr. Rolle was hired as a visiting assistant professor at Florida A & M University in 2006 where he both taught numerous courses and did research for the College of Pharmacy. In 2007, he was granted the Junior facility HBCU-RISE award to train 3 undergraduates in Microbiology. Rolle taught for the duration of that contract and in 2016 was hired to teach in the Biology department at Florida Gulf Coast University.