Teaching Observations for Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs

Are you looking for confidential feedback on your teaching? Request a teaching observation!

The CTL offers Teaching Observations with trained consultants who can help you think through your course goals, your teaching observation experience, and your future teaching. CTL Teaching Observations are confidential and evidence-based, developed to support instructors in their teaching practices.

Additionally, the CTL works with schools, programs, and departments seeking to refine their peer teaching observation practices.

Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs

Fill out the form at the link below to request a teaching observation. Any questions? Contact CTLfaculty@columbia.edu.

Federica Franze
Lecturer in the 
Department of Italian

“[The CTL’s teaching observation service] is a great chance to receive feedback in an extremely professional, detailed, helpful, and confidential way. It is a chance to reflect on your teaching practices, to be prepared to answer questions on your lesson plan and your teaching methodologies, and ultimately to improve as an instructor. It can be also a good way to prepare for a job interview, or before a university review process.”

Read more.

Who can request a teaching observation?

Teaching Observations are open to all faculty, postdocs, and staff who facilitate learning in the Columbia University community.

How can I arrange a teaching observation?

Teaching Observations are offered during the fall and spring semesters. In Spring 2018, Teaching Observations will be conducted between Monday, January 29th and close Friday, March 23rd, though you may request an observation at any time. To arrange for a teaching observation, please submit the online request form at least two weeks prior to the date when you would like to be observed. A teaching observation consultant will follow up to discuss your goals for student learning and for the observation.

Please note that since teaching observations are a popular service performed by a trained CTL consultant, we limit instructors to one observation experience per academic year. Likewise, the scheduling is “first come, first served.” To secure your desired date, we advise you to complete the observation request form as soon as possible.

What happens before, during, and after the observation?

Teaching Observations provide individualized feedback on teaching, following evidence-based principles for effective learning, teaching, and inclusive engagement. The teaching observation process allows instructors to establish their course and session goals and receive feedback on the extent to which those goals have been achieved. Faculty who have participated in a CTL Teaching Observation in a previous semester may request videorecording of subsequent observations.

Process for Teaching Observations

  • Step 1: Goal-setting conversation: the instructor discusses student learning and pedagogical goals with the CTL consultant to help focus the Teaching Observation, interpretations, and feedback.
  • Step 2: In-class observation: class is observed for approximately 1 hour, even if the class runs longer.
  • Step 3: Post-observation consultation: instructors meet with their consultant to debrief the teaching observation experience and discuss observed evidence of effective teaching, areas for further development, and next steps.

At the conclusion of the observation process, instructors will receive a written consultant report, which will include a summary of the experience, feedback, and resources for further development. Finally, instructors will be asked to complete a feedback survey for CTL staff to continue to improve the Teaching Observation process.