Documenting Your Teaching
What is a Teaching Portfolio?
A teaching portfolio brings together key materials that document your experience as a teacher, emphasizing your strengths and highlighting your efforts to enhance your teaching effectiveness.
Since the process of creating a portfolio encourages you to articulate your teaching strategies, reflect on your work, and clarify your teaching goals, it is also an effective tool for improving your teaching. The portfolio is a valuable asset to you as you search for a teaching position, since it allows prospective employers a glimpse into how seriously you regard teaching, the range of teaching experience you have accumulated, and what efforts you have made to promote learning among your students.
Many faculty positions require you to submit a teaching portfolio—or at least portions of one—when you apply. The teaching portfolio is also commonly used as documentation of teaching success during promotion and tenure review, and helps you to reflect upon your teaching in productive ways.
What should be included in a Teaching Portfolio?
Teaching Philosophy Statement
A 2–4 page narrative that outlines your pedagogical philosophy, strategies, and objectives; summarizes your teaching experience; describes efforts you have made to improve your teaching; and outlines support materials contained in the portfolio. Examples of teaching philosophies may be viewed at the University of Georgia Office of Instructional Support. Also see the CEIT web page on writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement.
These are materials that you have developed such as course syllabi outlining course objectives, policies, topics, assignments, readings, and teaching methods, sample tests, lab exercises, class notes, and handouts. You might also include video or audiotapes of yourself lecturing or leading a class discussion. Examples of graded student work are helpful in demonstrating improvement through a specific instructional technique.
Support materials include evaluations by professors, other teaching fellows, or colleagues who have observed your teaching, as well as student evaluations (numerical scores and written comments) and letters. You may also include workshops or other training that you have taken to improve your effectiveness as a teacher.
A Teaching ePortfolio
An ePortfolio can be an exciting way to showcase your teaching. You can introduce yourself with a picture and a bio sketch; post your resume, teaching statement, research philosophy, and samples of your manuscripts and articles; post videos of your teaching and presentations; and summarize evaluation comments from students – all in an easy-to-peruse website format. An ePortfolio is a dynamic way to not only present who you are to the outside world, but also for you to reflect on your own career progress and goals.
Seldin, Peter (1997) The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions, 2nd edition. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc. Additional information about compiling a teaching portfolio, with examples, is available from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Chronicle of Higher Education Careers website
Feirsen, R. and Weitzman, S. (2004) How to get the teaching job you want, 2nd edition. Sterling, Virgina: Stylus Press.
Formo, D. M. and Reed, C. (1999) Job Search in Academe: Strategic Rhetorics for Faculty Job Candidates. Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Press.
Heiberger, M. M. and Vick, J. M. (1996) The Academic Job Search Handbook, 2nd edition. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute website: Resources for science postdocs and junior faculty on career development.
Preparing Future Faculty website: Resources for graduate students on teaching, research, and academic job searches.
Your professional organization’s website most likely offers information on job searching and professional documentation tailored to the discipline.