Published: March 2018, Vol 62(1)
Departments of agricultural economics use a variety of methods to evaluate teaching effectiveness. Past studies have shown that departments of agricultural economics rely heavily on student evaluations of teaching for both evaluating teaching and making promotion, tenure, and salary decisions. We surveyed heads/chairs of agricultural economics departments to determine: 1) how they evaluate teaching; 2) what factors affect promotion, tenure, and salary decisions related to teaching appointment; and 3) attitudes regarding publishing and other creative activity related to teaching. Student evaluation of teaching remains, on average, the most important factor in evaluating teaching. The use and form of the evaluation instruments are similar across all departments, but there is a wide range of the importance placed on the results. Survey results provide some evidence that student evaluations of teaching, while imperfect, are likely to persist as the major method of evaluating teaching in departments of agricultural economics. Peer evaluation of teaching is used less frequently and is mostly used to prepare for promotion and tenure decisions. Publishing peer-reviewed teaching case studies is viewed as being less valuable for professional development than traditional research publishing. Very little weight, in terms of impact on promotion, tenure, and salary decisions, is given to creating open-access teaching materials.