The way in which teaching faculty are evaluated is very faulty. Universities do typically implement different types of evaluation, however the way that these evaluations are conducted may not be effective.
Now that it is the end of the semester, I am continuously getting notifications to fill out the Student Perspectives of Teaching (SPOT) evaluations for each course. Although some professors may encourage students to fill them out, students typically receive no incentive for completing them. The SPOT reminders begin to come out right when a student is at the busiest part of their semester, which is another barrier. I would say that students usually only fill them out if they feel strongly (one way or another) towards a course or its instructor. If there were things that the instructor did that a student did not like, it is the one time when the student gets to voice their opinion, although it sometimes may turn into more of a venting session rather than providing the instructor with constructive criticism.
I believe that SPOT evaluations would be more beneficial if the professor incorporated them into their syllabus (I have one professor that does this) so that the students see that it is a professor’s priority and so that they know when to expect them. Students will be even more likely to fill it out if there is some sort of incentive like extra credit points. However, this may be difficult to track since the form is anonymous.
One of my professors recently told me that because he will have one student saying his class was the worst class he/she has ever taken, while he will also get a SPOT saying his class was the best class another student has ever taken, he doesn’t really take them to heart. Whether a professor incorporates the feedback into future teaching is solely up to them. I’ve known professors to make changes in regards to many different aspects of their teaching, while some have said it didn’t matter how many negative reviews they received, they would still move forward with teaching the same way they have always taught.
Peer teaching reviews for instructors also have their shortcomings. Instructors in my department typically review one another. The issue with this is that professors obviously do not want to create any sort of conflict with the individuals they work with on a regular basis. Therefore, this could cause reviewers to not fully be honest in their reviews.
There are also few instructors that have been trained in teaching to begin with. It may not be the best idea to ask someone to be a reviewer if they have no knowledge or experience related to pedagogical practices. One of my suggestions would be to utilize teaching faculty from other departments and/or to have more faculty trained in teaching methods.