Washington State University faculty will learn about the Peer Observation and Co-Mentoring Program, a new initiative designed to boost scholarly teaching and learning, during a PIT Stops professional development session at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, over Zoom. The event is a collaboration between the Transformational Change Initiative (TCI) and the Teaching Academy.
Leading the information session will be Theresa Jordan, WSU Pullman history professor, and Kathleen Cowin, WSU Tri-Cities educational leadership professor. Both are fellows in the WSU Teaching Academy. They piloted the Peer Observation and Co-Mentoring Program there over the past two years.
“TCI is pleased to support the scaling up of this successful pilot program over the next three years, offering it to faculty on all WSU campuses,” said Erika Offerdahl, TCI director. “This immersive experience will be valuable to faculty as they continue to reflect on and refine their pedagogical skills.”
The Peer Observation and Co-Mentoring Program will accept 20 educators for each of three years, with 10 per semester actively engaged in the process. Jordan and Cowin are project coordinators.
Participants in the program will attend an orientation and a debrief session, and engage with a partner in two observation cycles per semester. Educators will observe the classes of their partner and discuss what they noted with their counterpart and program coordinators. The time commitment per semester for each participant is approximately 12 hours.
The program is designed to:
- Inform participants about the research and scholarship of peer mentorship and teaching observations, and share experiences with their departments.
- Improve participants’ teaching by changing the culture of peer observation from critical observation to supportive mutual mentoring.
- Share effective teaching strategies and resources among participants. This could include whole group and small group strategies; cooperative learning strategies; discussion strategies; “critical friends” approaches; universal design; classroom group agreements; assignment and activity design; teaching to a learning target/goal and objective; and more.
- Enhance teaching for educators and learning for students.
PIT Stops support faculty
Hosted by TCI in partnership with Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI) and the Teaching Academy, there will be two PIT Stops events each month. “PIT” is the acronym for pedagogy, innovation, and technology. Events are designed to support instructors as they fulfill the University’s instructional mission.