Team-Teaching Policy

Team-teaching offers rich possibilities for interdisciplinary learning both within and among departments and programs. The primary motivation for team teaching is to bring a greater breadth of expertise, particularly to courses in interdisciplinary programs.

While team-taught courses may take many forms, the most usual fall under the rubrics of a "tag-team" approach or a "collaborative" model. In the tag-team approach, one instructor usually teaches for the first half of the semester, at which point the second instructor takes over; each teaches within his or her own area of specialization.

In the collaborative approach, all the involved faculty members take responsibility for aspects of the materials of the entire course.

Both approaches have obvious strengths and challenges for both faculty and students, and an over-riding concern in the use of team-taught courses is that we consider carefully and assess on a regular basis the balance of the two.

Following input from Department Chairs and Program Directors, and CEP's recommendation, the Dean for Academic Affairs approved, a regularization of the process with regard to approval and recognition of team-taught courses as follows:

  1. Each faculty member responsible for a team-taught course receives full credit for the course in the semester in which it is offered. It is expected that an individual faculty member will offer no more than two courses in a team-taught format in any single academic year.

  2. Team-taught courses are expected to meet certain criteria in terms of both enrollments and enrichment of the curriculum, as outlined below.

  3. Team-taught courses offer great opportunities, but also challenges, for both faculty and students. Departments and Programs should regularly review team-taught courses, with a particular focus on the gains offered by a team-taught course versus that taught by an individual member of the faculty. Particular attention should be given to the experience of students taking these courses.

Criteria regarding team-taught courses:

While rewarding, team teaching presents challenges both for faculty and students. Differences in teaching style, instructor expectations, and evaluation standards can undermine the benefits of team teaching unless carefully addressed.  Students need to know who to go to with a question or problem and they need to have confidence that they will receive consistent answers. Faculty members must also guard against creating a conversation between the instructors that inadvertently leaves students on the outside or overwhelmed by the expertise in the room. 

For the success of a team-taught course, students need to understand the ways in which the different perspectives being brought to bear add coherence to the course materials.  This is especially important at the introductory level. Thus it is expected that faculty in all team-taught courses will avail themselves of information on best practices in team teaching.  The Dean’s Office will also undertake to facilitate regular workshops for faculty who team-teach.