Classroom Observations

The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) assists faculty who voluntarily seek to improve their teaching and those faculty who are directed by their academic units to seek teaching-related assistance from CITL. The assistance provided by CITL can be in the form of individualized consultations, classroom observation, or a combination of both. 

Classroom observation involves a CITL consultant observing faculty teaching in the classroom, analyzing related activities, and providing feedback for improvement. This is a lengthy and time consuming process in which the faculty member and consultant work collaboratively to find opportunities for the faculty member to make positive changes in teaching.

Key features of the CITL classroom observation service:

  • CITL classroom observations are formative in nature and should not be used to evaluate teaching effectiveness for tenure and promotion or retention/hiring decisions. Academic units are encouraged to develop their own peer observation processes for these purposes. CITL consultants can also provide resources and training for academic units that would like to develop their own peer observation process. 

  • CITL classroom observations are confidential between CITL consultants and the faculty member being observed, to the extent permissible under NIU's guidelines, and CITL consultants will respect the privacy of all concerned. CITL staff may disclose information for the protection of the University and/or its faculty, staff and students. 

  • If a faculty member is referred to CITL for teaching improvement by an academic unit, we can report whether the faculty member has engaged with us, but we will not provide documentation or a summary of the observations. Individual faculty may choose to share any written feedback or their personal account of the process at their own discretion.

  • The success and desired outcomes of teaching improvement consultations and classroom observations will depend on the time and effort committed to the process by the faculty who seek assistance or are referred by their academic units. 

  • Stages of consultations or classroom observation may include:
    • Meet with the faculty to discuss the process and review the faculty member's goals and needs.
    • Collect data to identify teaching improvement needs via direct classroom observation or video, if observation is not practical or safe. 
    • Analyze and interpret the data collected and offer solutions to achieve desired outcomes.
    • Assist faculty in planning and implementing changes desired.
    • Assess the success of implemented strategies on the learning/teaching environment. 

Individual faculty members who wish to improve their teaching voluntarily should submit their request via email to citl@niu.edu. Academic units that wish to refer faculty to CITL for teaching improvement should contact the Director of Faculty Development and Instructional Support.

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-797-2477
Email: citl@niu.edu

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