Teaching Tip: Cultivate a library of learner evaluations

When the time comes to apply for an academic promotion, learner evaluations will be a critical component of your teaching portfolio. Learner evaluations are more heavily weighted for faculty on the MEST and clinical tracks, but they are also relevant to the other academic pathways. There are two keys to cultivating a good library of learner evaluations: collection and organization.

From the first time you provide any formal didactic experiences to trainees, you should ensure that data on the quality of your teaching are being collected. At Emory, this is done automatically for any clinical work with trainees; the relevant program director should be compiling evaluation data on an annual basis and forwarding to you in an anonymized fashion. But for lectures or leadership of small group exercises, ask the event organizer whether the session will be evaluated and when you can expect to receive feedback. If there is no formal mechanism for your evaluation in place, ask the organizer if you can bring a form for the learners to complete regarding your performance; make sure to keep it short and that the evaluations can be returned anonymously.

By the time you are eligible for promotion, you will likely have years of material to sift through. Therefore, it is essential to keep all evaluations in a centralized location and in an organized fashion. Whether you keep physical copies of everything or have an email or desktop folder, organize the evaluations by date and activity. It is also helpful to have comparative data for the promotions committee to review (i.e. examples of other educators’ evaluations). Last, but not least, save any thank you notes you receive from learners, which are particularly valuable.


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Emory Department of Medicine
Emory Department of Medicine

The Emory University Department of Medicine, within the Emory University School of Medicine, is steeped in a rich tradition of excellence. Through the work of its nine divisions and numerous centers and institutes, the department has pioneered discoveries in medicine, education, scientific and clinical investigation, and clinical care. Emory University School of Medicine’s medical school, residency, transitional-year, and fellowship programs offer students the latest knowledge in treatment practices, scientific theories, research, and patient care.

The Emory University Department of Medicine is a component of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University, which includes the Emory schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare.