Stern Teaching Effectiveness Program

The Stern Teaching Effectiveness Program (STEP) started several years ago, when full-time faculty decided they wanted a school-wide program in which all full-time faculty members could work on improving their teaching. After a two-year pilot program to assess STEP, faculty voted overwhelmingly to make it a mandatory program, in which each of the full-time faculty members would have at least one confidential class observation every four semesters they teach.

Since that time the program has expanded to offer more options for faculty members, and class observations and consultations have also been made available to adjunct faculty members and to Ph.D.-student instructors.

STEP observations and consultations are confidential. They are not used in promotion and tenure decisions. Rather they are designed simply to be helpful to you. The only thing reported to the departments and to the deans is when you have your STEP consultations.

To fulfill their STEP obligation, faculty members may choose one of the STEP options on the left. The first five options generally consist of three parts: First, a brief pre-observation meeting, in which faculty member and consultant discuss the class the faculty member has invited the consultant to—the instructor’s goals for students, any concerns he or she has about the class, areas the instructor would like feedback on, etc.; second, the class visit itself; last, a post-observation meeting in which consultant and instructor reflect on the class—based primarily on the instructor’s goals for students and what type of feedback the instructor requested from the consultant.