George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Evaluating Excellence in Teaching

Recommended Criteria for Evaluating Genuine Excellence in Teaching

  1. Outstanding classroom teaching and learning outcomes, as evidenced by the usual measures, including but not limited to student evaluations. Other evidence of teaching effectiveness includes peer observations; letters of support from students, alumni, and colleagues (solicited and unsolicited); student comments based on the whole population, not selected samples; and/or student focus groups. Thoughtful reflection on teaching will be sought in the teaching statement.
  2. Effective teaching is demonstrated by the clarity, appropriateness, and efficacy of course materials, methods and presentations, and by successful learning outcomes. Example syllabi, other course materials created by the candidate, and student work used with permission can be used as sources of evidence.
  3. When applicable, evidence of educational work with students outside the classroom. For example, supervising undergraduate research, master’s theses, and dissertations; advising and mentoring activities; and/or clinical and field supervision of students.
  4. Faculty leadership in promoting student learning and teaching excellence. For example, developing successful and innovative curricula and programs; developing instructional materials; teaching-related training, supervising, and mentoring of other faculty and graduate students; developing teaching innovations (e.g., the use of technology); leading team-teaching initiatives; and/or building support for educational partnerships within and across institutions.
  5. Teaching excellence across a variety of classes, e.g., large and small, face-to-face and hybrid or online, undergraduate and graduate, while maintaining a consistent and appropriate teaching load.
  6. Maintenance of at least highly competent research, evidenced by the usual measures, including outside letters.
  7. Evidence of teaching and learning impact beyond the classroom. This involves some combination of conference presentations, workshops, performances, or exhibitions; invitations to other places; texts or teaching materials, including electronic; or articles on teaching and/or learning outcomes (see also #3 above). External funding for curricular development, piloting teaching methods, or advising could serve in this category also.

Note that building a case for Genuine Excellence in Teaching and steps toward appropriate evidence usually emerges over the career of the professor and is not a last minute event. Outside evaluative letters should be based on a holistic evaluation of all of the above criteria. Very occasionally, exceptions to these criteria can be made, based on truly unusual and evidenced classroom impact and impact on other faculty members on campus.

(Office of the Provost, 3-2-2009)

Mason students draw images on easels

Students in the School of Art take a drawing class. Mason sets high expectations for all faculty members, and we're proud to recognize those teachers who go the extra mile.