Document 17 - Summary of Teaching
Professor Jane Doe regularly teaches four courses per year: two undergraduate (SCN 101 and SCN 102) and two graduate (SCN 501 and SCN 502). Each semester, Professor Doe also teaches several independent study or directed research projects, which are common among students in the Scandinavian Studies Department. This 4+4 teaching contribution is standard in our department, although adjustments are sometimes made for faculty who secure considerable external grant support, direct graduate student dissertations, fund student research assistantships from their grants or assume administrative roles within the Department.
Since joining the Scandinavian Studies Department in the Fall 2009 semester, Professor Doe has taught SCN 101 and SCN 501 in the Fall 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 semesters. She has taught SCN 102 and SCN 502 in the Spring 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 semesters. Professor Doe has also developed a new undergraduate course, SCN 315 — Government in Scandinavian Nations, which she is teaching for the first time in the current (Fall 2014) semester.
As described in Document 11, Student Instructional Rating Form (SIRF) evaluations were collected in each of Professor Doe’s courses. As can be seen in the raw SIRF scores (in Appendix F), her course evaluations have risen steadily since her first semester teaching at UAlbany. Her average SIRF score since joining the University rests slightly above the average for our Department for her graduate courses and near the Department average for her undergraduate courses.
|Course Type||"Instructor Overall" SIRF Score|
|Average of all undergraduate courses (Professor Doe)||4.20|
|Average of all undergraduate courses (Department-wide)||4.35|
|Average of all graduate courses (Professor Doe)||4.59|
|Average of all graduate courses (Department-wide)||4.44|
Professor Doe’s slightly below average SIRF score in undergraduate teaching should be considered within the context of the courses that she teaches. Both SCN 101 and SCN 102 are introductory courses that are pre-requisites for many upper-division undergraduate courses in the Department. As such, students begin the courses with little or no prior exposure to the course topics. In addition, these courses are regularly our Department’s largest — often enrolling over 50 students each. Therefore, Dr. Doe is not only teaching introductory material to novice students but she is also teaching it to many of them at a time. Within this context, it is not surprising that the SIRF scores are a bit below the Departmental average. When comparing Dr. Doe’s SIRF scores from these two undergraduate courses with those of other faculty teaching the same courses, the averages are very similar: Dr. Doe’s averages are 4.20 while those of the other faculty are 4.22. Also, it is important to note that Dr. Doe’s SIRF scores have improved steadily and her most recent semester of teaching these two undergraduate courses yielded an average of 4.33. This improvement deserves emphasis because it is the result of Dr. Doe’s constant reworking of her syllabi and seeking guidance from ITLAL on how she can improve her performance in the classroom. Needless to say, this effort has paid off.
The Department requested two peer evaluations of Professor Doe’s teaching. During the Fall 2013 semester, a senior faculty member from the Department evaluated her teaching in SCN 101 and a second reviewer evaluated her teaching in SCN 501. Both reviews are included in the file as Document 12a. The reviewer of the undergraduate course commented, “Professor Doe is comfortable in the classroom and demonstrates her mastery of the course content and genuine passion for sharing her interest with her students. The course delivery is fresh and well-paced, allowing students plenty of time to engage in discussions and ask questions.” The reviewer of the graduate course offered, “It was a pleasure to see such an engaging instructor interact with our graduate students. Professor Doe is confident and self-assured, and utilizes technology appropriately within the class — she does not rely on it too heavily but finds creative ways to demonstrate her points visually to her students. I may ask her for some advice on how to incorporate technology in my own classes!”
Apart from her classroom teaching, Professor Doe has proven herself to be an effective, knowledgeable and trusted advisor to our undergraduate students. She has advised 24 undergraduate students at last count and has supervised four undergraduate students in their honors theses. One of these students received the President’s Award for Undergraduate Research in 2012.
At the graduate level, Professor Doe has advised seven students on their master’s theses. It is important to note that our Department does not have a doctoral program. Despite this, Professor Doe has served on one doctoral dissertation for a student at the University of Nevada – Reno; this doctoral student sought out Professor Doe for her reputation and experience in Scandinavian Politics. Professor Doe’s SIRF scores at the graduate level are solid, ranging from 4.23 in SCN 502 during the Spring 2010 semester to an impressive 4.93 in her SCN 501 course during the Fall 2013 semester. The quantitative data is strongly supplemented by qualitative comments from the students, all of which are included with the raw SIRF scores in Appendix F.
In summary, since joining the Scandinavian Studies Department five years ago, Professor Jane Doe has established herself as a respected, accomplished and effective instructor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her active involvement in advising and mentoring students is commendable, and her dedication to preparing future scholars in our field is unwavering. All of the evidence included in this file points to the conclusion that Professor Doe’s record in teaching reaches, if not exceeds, the Department’s and University’s expectations for continuing appointment and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.