Teaching Observations

Thank you for your interest in scheduling a teaching observation through the CTE. To request an observation, please complete our request form or e-mail CTE@newhaven.edu. More information about the program is offered below.

The teaching observations offered by the CTE are faculty-driven. We acknowledge and understand that observations can ignite a range of emotions for participants. Our observations are an opportunity for learning and growth. To that end we build our observation program with the CTE mission in mind. Our mission states we will:

  • offer programs and services that support faculty in facilitating student-centered courses and that encourage the growth of high-impact, innovative teaching practices;  
  • support faculty and programs in evaluating the effectiveness of their curricula and teaching;   
  • foster a culture of inclusive, reflective teaching through peer support and community building;  
  • promote faculty participation in scholarship on teaching and learning.  

Teaching observations are a manifestation of the core support offered by the CTE. To this end our teaching observations will uphold some key elements to ensure that faculty (both observers and those being observed) approach the partnership with a growth mindset. Our process asks individual faculty members to initiate the opportunity for observation, set the goals of the observation and decide on a conclusion. CTE Staff and Faculty Fellows are available to partner with faculty across campus to conduct observations. 

CTE Teaching Observation Key Elements: 

  • Formative in nature, not summative. The observation format we offer is meant to inform teacher development based on their personal goals.  
  • Faculty willingly volunteer to participate in observations. They cannot be required. 
  • Confidential. Only the faculty member and the CTE staff member or Faculty Fellow performing the observation will have access to the subsequent report. If a faculty member requests to make the report available to others, the CTE will share the report with the requested persons.  
  • Cannot be used as a substitute for department chair, program coordinator, and/or colleague observations that are included in Faculty Annual Reports or tenure portfolio.

Observation Process:

Indicate interest in scheduling a teaching observation via our request form or by contacting us via e-mail at CTE@newhaven.

  • You will have the opportunity to specify if you would like to partner with a particular CTE Staff member or Faculty Fellow.
  • We’ll ask for a few details regarding your class and goals for the observation

 The faculty member and observer will meet briefly before the class observation to discuss: 

  • Goals: What are the instructor’s goals for the observation process? Instructors may want to ask the observer to focus on a particular aspect of the instructor’s teaching, selecting one primary focus for the session, such as (1) inclusive teaching, (2) engaged teaching, or (3) research-informed teaching, etc. 
    • The instructor may elect to ask the observer to conduct a private interview with students at the end of class. If the instructor wishes to do so, the observer will include the results of that conversation in the final report. 
  • Course Context: What are the overall goals and objectives of the course? Where does the course fit into the department or university curriculum? How large is the class? What kinds of background knowledge and skills do students bring? How does the selected lesson fit into the rest of the course? Will students have completed out-of-class learning/readings prior to coming to this class session? 
      • Sharing of the course syllabus and schedule is strongly encouraged. 
    • Decide on post-observation deliverables

Observer visits faculty member’s course.

 A follow-up discussion between reviewer and observer is key to this process. This discussion will allow the faculty member to share how they felt the class session went, if there is anything they would have changed about the session, etc.

  • The observer will speak to strengths and areas of improvement, focusing on the goals the instructor identified during Step 1. They may work together to create an action plan and consider whether a follow-up observation to review progress in those areas would be helpful. 

Following the post-observation debrief, the observer will prepare and send a report to the instructor based on deliverables agreed upon during the pre-observation meeting.

  • Observers are strongly encouraged to set a follow-up meeting with the instructor later in the semester. While this meeting is not required, it can help instructors hold themselves accountable for the action plan and can serve as an opportunity for the CTE to collect success stories and/or gather feedback about the observation process. 

Following our typical practice, the CTE will send a survey to the faculty member, asking the faculty member to assess the effectiveness of the observation process. To preserve confidentiality, the observer will send the link to the survey and the instructor will not need to include their name in the survey response form. The CTE will use this data to shape and improve our process.