The Analysis of Teaching Effectiveness Evaluation Programs in Geography Departments in the United States
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Teaching evaluation systems are an important part of the total evaluation of faculty in geography departments in the United States. As demands for accountability for teaching effectiveness continue to emerge from many groups, it has become increasingly important for geography departments to develop systems that not only provide teaching effectiveness data to these groups that are aligned with the recommendations for best practices regarding the evaluation of teaching effectiveness from the literature. Using the theoretical framework of the theory of organizational culture, this mixed-method study investigated aspects of the teaching evaluation systems at geography departments in the United States. This research was particularly focused on any geographical or department-level differences among the departments included in the study. The quantitative findings of this research showed that geographical differences are minimal, but there were significant differences among geography departments regarding the value placed on quality teaching by institution and department, as well as the total number of evaluation methods. The qualitative analysis revealed that there had been a substantial lack of consultation of the teaching evaluation literature in developing these systems, resulting in considerable variability among the teaching evaluation systems. The qualitative analysis also showed a significant lack of agreement between faculty and chairpersons regarding numerous aspects of the teaching evaluation systems.