Changes to Teaching Evaluation System

February 14, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

This email provides an update to the changes in the University of Oregon’s teaching evaluation system. UO is a national leader in its efforts to improve teaching evaluations and move us toward a system that is fair and transparent, evaluates faculty against clear definitions of teaching quality, and is informed by data collected from students, peers, and faculty members themselves. The work represents a collaborative process among multiple stakeholders, including the University Senate, United Academics, faculty, students, and the administration.

The project began in the University Senate in May 2017 with the creation of the Teaching Evaluation Task Force. Ongoing work has been led by the University Senate’s Committee on the Continuous Improvement and Evaluation of Teaching (CIET) and a Community Accelerating the Impact of Teaching (CAIT), organized through the Office of the Provost and comprised of faculty from across the university. This work resulted in legislation passed by the University Senate and signed by President Schill in spring 2018 and 2019 to replace student course evaluations with the new Student Experience Survey and Instructor Reflection. Campus-wide implementation of these new tools began in fall 2019. We are committed to ongoing assessment of these tools as we refine our teaching evaluation system.

In summer 2019, university administration and United Academics entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) pertaining to new university-wide teaching standards that create a baseline definition of teaching quality as professional, inclusive, engaged, and research-informed. Per the MOU, this definition will be in effect beginning fall 2020. 

While the standards provide the university-wide definition by which teaching will be evaluated, the administration and United Academics have, at the request of University Senate leadership, agreed to an extension of time for units to modify these with unit-specific standards of teaching that are consistent with the standards specified in the MOU. Units will now have until September 2021 to complete this work. The extension eases the timeline to customize the conditions that define teaching quality and allows continued collaboration among stakeholders in the new teaching evaluation system.

The Teaching Evaluation Criteria document, workshopped by the CAIT group, will be shared with units soon. As the 2019 MOU specifies, units are not required to do anything if they wish to use the criteria document as is. Units that opt to modify the criteria document to better account for discipline-specific teaching expectations should send a tracked changes version of the criteria document to their dean and ultimately to the Office of the Provost.

Answers to frequently asked questions related to these changes and a comprehensive project page are available on the Office of the Provost website

All tenure-related faculty whose midterm reviews, tenure and promotion reviews, or post-tenure reviews will take place during AY 2020-21 have been contacted about the new standards and invited to workshops on the new teaching quality standards that provide guidance on how to showcase their teaching with these in place. We are relying on unit heads to invite career faculty who are planning to put together promotion files next year to join these workshops, as well. The next “First Cohort” session will be Thursday, March 5, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. [Register here]. The Office of the Provost will continue to offer workshops and work with and support faculty as the university transitions to the new system. Questions or requests for additional information should be sent to

Janet Woodruff-Borden
Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs