The Colleague Development Program: A multidisciplinary program of peer observation partnerships
As an introduction to peer observation of teaching, a multi-disciplinary program of peer observation partnerships was implemented across Faculty of Health Sciences. The 'Colleague Development Program' focussed on formative feedback and on promoting collegiality within and across traditional discipline boundaries. To describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Colleague Development Program. Participants asked a trusted colleague to observe their teaching. Feedback on good practice and suggestions for improvement were sought. Colleague observations were guided by specific learning objectives articulated by participants. Following the teaching observation/s, the colleague observer and the participant discussed the extent to which the participant's learning objectives had been achieved. A written summary of mutually agreed outcomes was prepared. Program evaluation included anonymous participant questionnaire and focus group discussions. Forty-two staff enrolled in the program with 23 completing all elements and participating in the evaluation. Participants reported increased confidence in teaching, confirmation of good practice, exposure to new ideas, and a greater sense of institutional support and collegiality. Situating peer evaluation within a collegial partnership overcame participants' concerns about being the subject of 'evaluation' and 'criticism' by emphasising existing collegiality and trust amongst peers.