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A Comparative Case Study of Approaches and Institutional Factors that Affect Assessment of Teaching at a University

Onufer, Lindsay (2022) A Comparative Case Study of Approaches and Institutional Factors that Affect Assessment of Teaching at a University. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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For the past several decades, researchers have identified problems with the validity and reliability of student opinion of teaching survey (teaching survey) results, leading many researchers and faculty members to conclude that conducting comprehensive, meaningful assessment of teaching requires using multiple measures to collect and triangulate data from students, faculty peers, administrators, and others (AAUP, 1975; Arreola, 2007; Benton & Cashin, 2014; Berk, 2006; Vasey & Carroll, 2016). Despite the criticism of overreliance on teaching surveys, most institutions (Vasey & Carroll, 2016), including the University of Pittsburgh, continue using them as the primary means of assessing teaching effectiveness, and much is to be learned about how a university or academic unit can move to more comprehensive methods. In 2021, the University of Pittsburgh began an institution-wide process to create and implement plans to broaden and improve assessment of teaching. Using document analysis of assessment of teaching plan documents, I examined the approaches to and comprehensiveness of academic units’ assessment of teaching plans. I conducted faculty focus groups to identify institutional factors that faculty perceived as having facilitated or impeded assessment of teaching planning. Results indicate that units that took team-based middle-out approaches, which required more faculty involvement than top-down, leader-led approaches, created more comprehensive plans. Focus group data analysis results also suggest that access to resources and aspects of unit culture affect this type of institutional change. Institutional drivers and barriers were also context-specific at the unit-level. This study concludes with recommendations for how various stakeholders at the University of Pittsburgh and change agents in other higher education institutions can facilitate assessment of teaching planning and improvement moving forward.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Onufer, Lindsaylro8@pitt.edulro80000-0003-3191-9311
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAkiva,
Committee MemberGunzenhauser,
Committee MemberDelale O'Connor,
Committee MemberRowland,
Date: 10 January 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 November 2021
Approval Date: 10 January 2022
Submission Date: 29 November 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 102
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: assessment of teaching assessment teaching faculty evaluation institutional factors higher education organizational change in higher education
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2022 18:17
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2022 18:17


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