• Conceptual

  • Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework for peer review of teaching is rooted in Boyer’s philosophy and guided by the Professional Standards Framework (PSF) developed in the United Kingdom and applied globally in higher education. Peer review is an important part of maintaining teaching standards and thereby relates to quality assurance. However, the process also generates professional development for teaching staff, allowing them an opportunity to engage in professional dialogues about teaching with peers.

Boyer’s definition of scholarship

Peer review of teaching (PRT) aligns with Boyer’s (1990) philosophy. In the book titled, Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate, Boyer (1990) sought to rethink the academic role. He argued that academics work in four areas of scholarship and proposed that all four areas to be given more or less equal weight. The four areas include the scholarship of discovery, scholarship of integration, scholarship of application, and scholarship of teaching.

The scholarship of discovery involves the generation of new knowledge, whereas the scholarship of integration involves interdisciplinary collaboration. The scholarship of application (or scholarship of engagement) entails the exchange of knowledge and its practical application to address real-world problems. Last but not least, the scholarship of teaching involves systematic inquiry into teaching methods, strategies, and their impact on student learning. From Boyer’s perspective, teaching should not be viewed solely as a means of transmitting knowledge, but also as a scholarly endeavor that requires reflection, research, and continuous enhancement. He argued that academics should approach their teaching in the same scholarly way as they would approach their research. Since one way that academics advance their research is through discussion with other experts, they should also discuss their teaching with colleagues.

Professional Standards Framework (PSF)

One essential best practice in peer review is the application of specific criteria during the peer observation process. PRT at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is guided by the Professional Standards Framework (PSF), which can be downloaded here. This framework serves as a foundation for the development of criteria used in the summative peer review of teaching template, which can be accessed and downloaded in the “Summative Peer Review Template” section.

The PSF was launched in the UK in 2011 and revised in 2023. Overseen by Advance HE, the PSF is a globally acknowledged quality measure of university teaching. Since January 2020, HKU has been running our own Advance HE Fellowship Scheme accredited by Advance HE. University teachers can have their practice recognized by submitting a teaching portfolio addressing five areas of activity and demonstrating engagement with core knowledge and professional values. They can receive one of four awards: Associate Fellowship, Fellowship and Senior Fellowship. For more details, please visit our HKU Advance HE Fellowship Scheme website: https://prog.talic.hku.hk/he-fellowship/

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