Celebrating and Assessing Teaching Excellence

In March 2020, Senate approved four actions to improve assessment of teaching and the celebration of effective teaching at Simon Fraser University:

  1. Review and update tenure and promotion policies and processes for departments, Faculties and the university to ensure that the evaluation of teaching is done in a holistic manner and includes multiple sources of evidence.
    • Underway as of Summer 2021. Find supports here
  2. Review the framework and questions in the Student Experience of Teaching and Courses (SETC) system and start a process to educate students, faculty and Tenure and Promotion Committees (TPCs) on the appropriate use of survey data.
  3. Reconsider the definition and implementation of the SFU Excellence in Teaching Award and consider expanding this and other recognition programs to better align with SFU’s commitment to innovation and leadership in teaching.
    • Revised policy passed Senate in May of 2022 and goes to the Board in June 2022.
  4. Provide instructors with support for multiple aspects of their teaching, including ways to increase the effectiveness of their teaching practice and assistance with the development of resources, such as teaching portfolios, that can be considered by TPCs.

Read the full memorandum to Senate from SCUTL

The SETC Improvement Project

In Fall 2021, the university is conducting an information/education campaign as well as a consultation with students, faculty and other members of the SFU academic community to consider changes to the SETC surveys that students receive at the end of each course.

To learn more and to share your input, visit the project page.

About SFU’s teaching assessment initiatives

The Senate actions are a response to the reports of the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses Working Group (SETCWG) and the Teaching Assessment Working Group (TAWG).

The SETCWG report, titled Developing a Teaching Assessment Framework for Simon Fraser University, was released in Spring 2017. It outlined a Teaching Assessment Framework with five principles to ensure a more holistic approach to assessment—one that employs data from multiple sources, collected over multiple points of time with multiple methods, and aligned with each instructor’s career path.

The TAWG report, titled Strategies to Value Effective Teaching, was released in August 2019. It echoed the call for a broader, more holistic approach to teaching assessment and proposed more training and support to help faculty members and Tenure and Promotion Committees demonstrate and evaluate teaching effectiveness, along with expanded award programs and other measures to recognize and celebrate teaching excellence.

Final report | TAWG

Strategies to Value Effective Teaching
PDF, August 2019

Additional background

The current effort to ensure that effective teaching is recognized, celebrated and supported at SFU builds on previous initiatives. In particular, it draws on the work of the Task Force on Teaching and Learning (TFTL) and the Teaching and Course Evaluation Project (TCEP). Read the associated reports below.

Final Report | TFTL

Task Force on Teaching and Learning
PDF, January 2010

Final Report | TCEP

Teaching and Course Evaluation Project
PDF, November 2013