University of South Florida

Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning (CITL)


Reflecting on Teaching Excellence: CITL's Peer Observation Program in Spring 2024

By Emad Mansour

Two people talking while seated at a table.

CITL’s Peer Observation Program is a non-evaluative, team-based opportunity for faculty to observe one another and share their approaches to teaching and learning. During this spring semester, 34 faculty members from both Tampa and St. Pete campuses participated and completed the program requirements.  
The closing event of the Peer Observation Program at USF (held virtually on April 10 and 12) marks a significant milestone in the journey of faculty members. This event is a celebration of the knowledge gained, the teaching practices observed, and the bonds formed among the faculty members. It’s an opportunity for participants to share their reflections on the program, discussing the strategies they observed and how these observations have influenced their teaching approach.  

The event is a testament to the program’s success in promoting evidence-based practices, recognizing teaching effectiveness, raising collegiality, and fostering a sense of belonging. Participants, who have been observing each other’s classes in small teams during the semester, come together to share their insights. They discuss their experiences in a judgment-free environment, highlighting the program’s impact on their professional development. 

Because participants deliver written reflections on what they’ve learned, their reflections, a crucial part of the program, showcase the participants’ self-discovery journey and their plans for implementing changes in their teaching methods. The event, therefore, not only marks the end of the program but also the beginning of a new chapter in their teaching careers, enriched by the experiences and insights gained through the program. Here's a glimpse into their reflections: 
Dr. Lori Hall, Assistant Professor of Instruction, Department of Criminology: “Overall, this experience has been enlightening. It has greatly improved my ability to identify my areas of growth and areas of strength. Additionally, it has challenged me to develop an action plan to remedy the areas on my courses that need improvement to create better learning experiences for students and a better teaching approach. I am very pleased with my experiences in the peer observation program and look forward to implementing the plan to make improvements.” 
Dr. Kelly Page Werder, Associate Professor, Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications: “The peer observation process helped me see ways that I can become a stronger teacher by making adjustments that aim to foster greater student engagement. It also helped me develop relationships with colleagues across campus that have the possibility to continue and develop in many rewarding ways.” 
Dr. Matthew Son, Assistant Professor, Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance: “The experience was not only enlightening but also transformative, providing me with fresh perspectives on enhancing student engagement and participation in my own classes.” 

Dr. Don Saunders, Visiting Assistant Instructor, Department of Religious Studies: “I highly recommend all faculty members consider enrolling in this program. Participation fosters faculty both cooperative and diverse pedagogy, as well as a great opportunity to interact with faculty and students and gain insightful, enduring experiences.” 

Return to article listing

About Department News

CITL News covers upcoming faculty development events, latest trends in teaching and learning, and innovative approaches USF faculty use to engage their students.