Sierra Dawson PhD

Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost
University of Oregon

Bio: Dr. Sierra Dawson served as a faculty member in the Department of Human Physiology at the University of Oregon from 2003 – 2017. In addition to teaching some of the largest classes in the department, she was charged with refining and leading the educational mission through the cultivation of evidence-based and effective teaching practices. Her work lead to a university distinguished teaching award, and facilitated the growth of the department from 200-1200 majors. In 2017 Dr. Dawson joined the Office of the Provost where she collaborates with campus partners to recognize and reward teaching excellence. She currently co-chairs the Senate Task Force for Teaching Evaluation, and is a founding member of the Provost’s Teaching Academy Advisory Board.

Title: Reforming the Evaluation of Teaching: From the Department to the Institutional Level

Abstract: Like other AAU institutions, at the University of Oregon we espouse excellence in teaching but fail to describe or adequately measure quality teaching. Many units rely heavily on numerical ratings provided by our student course evaluation system to evaluate teaching quality, but student ratings are biased by faculty gender, race, and ethnicity. A new teaching evaluation system is a key starting point toward describing, developing, recognizing and rewarding teaching excellence. This presentation will outline the work being done locally by departments, as well as collaborations between the faculty senate and provost’s office to significantly change how teaching is evaluated on our campus.