In an academic world driven by student ratings and publication counts, faculty members are discouraged from exploring new pedagogical ideas because exploration takes time and often goes unrecognized. The contrast with research is striking: everyone is expected to explore and innovate in research, whereas very few make exploration in teaching their norm. This paper presents a case study illustrating a program, the Peer-Reviewed Exploration in Teaching (PRET) program, designed to encourage and recognize faculty when they implement teaching innovations. The program provides feedback during all stages of a teaching innovation, including outside-classroom activities, and incorporates a rigorous peer review process so that successive such PRETs can accumulate into a record for tenure and promotion. The paper describes the program’s rationale, initial implementation, and lessons learned. Perhaps one of the most interesting lessons is that faculty explorations often go beyond a standard inventory of active learning techniques when they are encouraged and supported to explore.

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