Archive for October, 2012

Early Semester Evaluations as Teaching Evidence

Posted on October 4, 2012 in Kaneb Center

Believe it or not the Fall 2012 semester is already half over and now is the time to administer early semester evaluations.  Whether you’re a TA or an Instructor of record, conducting early semester evaluations can help you in a myriad of ways!  For example conducting, analyzing and discussing early semester evaluations may:

  1. Increase student motivation by demonstrating concern for student learning,
  2. Improve teaching abilities through ongoing formative assessment, and
  3. Improve student achievement by addressing student concerns.

These three outcomes may take years to achieve through constant evaluation, analysis and personal assessment but are well worth it.  

Specifically, as a graduate or postdoctoral student there is one more crucial reason to conduct early semester reviews: 


As a student you may have very specific and limited opportunities to demonstrate your teaching abilities during graduate school.  If you’re looking for an academic position, evidence of teaching and student learning is critical.  Early semester evaluations demonstrate your commitment to increasing student motivation and achievement and improving your teaching skills during the semester (as compared to end of the semester evaluations).  These evaluations and any evidence of your teaching abilities are collected in a Teaching Portfolio.  When several evaluations are combined they can demonstrate your commitment to teaching to possible employers.  For example, early semester evaluations can be compared to end of the semester evaluations to demonstrate improvement in the classroom.  If you only teach one course, this is one of the few opportunities to demonstrate your growth in the classroom.  If you have the opportunity to teach multiple years, evaluations from different years can be used to demonstrate improvement in the course, your teaching skills and student performance on a longer time scale.  When all is said and done there is no downside to conducting an early semester review – evidence of improvement, dedication and great teaching can go a long way.

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Interested in learning more about early semester evaluations?

 The Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning has examples of evaluations and many other teaching and learning topics on their website under the resources tab (  

 Interested in learning more about teaching portfolios and teaching / learning evidence? 

There are still a few spots open to this semester’s “Teaching Portfolio Design” series.  See the website for more details and registration.

Always Look on the Bright Side: A Higher Education Employment Report

Posted on October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

According to a recent report from HigherEdJobs, “the number of jobs in higher education grew 2.1% during the second quarter of 2012, continuing to outpace growth of all U.S. jobs.” Those seeking employment in academia or anyone looking to better understand current trends in higher education should take a look at the full report.

Visit to download the full report or view the news release.