THE IMPROVEMENT OF TEACHING THROUGH TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES BASED ON PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT
Improving teaching performance is a constant concern for all universities and the subject of much analysis. Some state programmes, such as the University Lecturer Teaching Evaluation Support programme named DOCENTIA, helps universities to orient themselves towards excellence. However, such orientation implies taking into consideration not only the preparation and development of teaching activity as understood by faculty members, but also other factors that affect the achievement of this goal, such as the involvement of the heads of academic departments, research activity and the academic management of teachers.
In this document, we describe a procedure which in 2013 was put into practice at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, known as the Teaching Assessment and Development System (SD3). SD3 is a personalised and continuous management and supervision system whose aim is to improve the effectiveness of our organisation through the monitoring and development of our teaching staff, their professional development, and also the coordinated orientation of the teaching teams towards general objectives.
The guidelines of this development are set with the collaboration of each lecturer and academic department concerned through a procedure that has the following phases:
- Initial diagnosis. Based on the university's already existing assessment processes, which are the DOCENTIA programme and lecturer assessment questionnaires filled out by the students.
- Initial Interview. At the beginning of the academic year, the academic director holds a personal interview with each lecturer. In it, the strengths of the performance of the lecturer are analysed and opportunities for improvement are found. The interview also serves to identify the lecturer’s training needs and an action plan is subsequently drawn up. Furthermore, operational objectives are also addressed, with their respective indicators and achievement dates.
- A follow-up interview (in February), in which the director and lecturer look at the work and projects carried out, revise the set objectives and if necessary, modify or reword them.
- A closing interview (in July) in which the degree of achievement of the objectives set at the start of the course is assessed and the effect of the development activities undertaken for the personal and professional improvement of the lecturer are measured.
At present, more than 150 lecturers participate in this system. One of the most visible effects of this new system is the effective identification of training needs, which the Training and Innovation department satisfies with courses established every year.
An alternative to these courses is more personalised training, where the specific needs of each academic department are considered. These needs are normally of a didactic and methodological nature and aimed at improving how our students learn.
In the academic year 2014-15, 26 courses have been conducted within the Training Plan, and 22 made-to-measure courses have been given. In addition, 2 programmes focused on the personal and professional development of our teaching staff - both individually through coaching techniques, and collectively, through workshops for the improvement of the lecturers’ emotional skills -, have been conducted.