Teaching portfolios—also called teaching dossiers or evidence of teaching effectiveness—are becoming a common and highly successful tool for both formative and summative evaluation of teaching. Formatively, the portfolio helps you reflect systematically and regularly upon your teaching. Summatively, portfolios provide a much more comprehensive and accurate picture of your teaching than any other single device. For anyone planning to apply for tenure or for a position at a university, a solid teaching portfolio is essential.
A portfolio may be thought of as an annotated archive of selected course-related materials. The materials presented in a portfolio should highlight aspects of course design, teaching and learning assessment, and teaching development and should include both historical and reflective documents.
Documents That the Teacher Produces
- description of teaching areas, courses
- statement of teaching philosophy
- representative syllabi
- in-class materials such as assignments, activities, projects, quizzes, exams
- video or audio recordings of a class
- professional development opportunities taken
- self-evaluation of materials, explanation
Documents from Peers, Students, Institutions
- classroom observation statements from colleagues
- peer review of course and teaching materials
- student evaluations and comments
- teaching honors, awards, or other recognition
- invitations to teach or present papers on teaching
- documentation of efforts to develop teaching skills
Documents Showing Student Achievement
- samples of representative student work
- information, data, statistics about effect on student careers, majors
- alumni statements
- student publications
The first step in constructing a portfolio is to generate or collect as many of these items as possible. The materials are then framed by a statement of teaching philosophy, a description of teaching areas, and a summary of the student evaluations.
Seldin, Peter. The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions (3rd ed.). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing, 2003.
The Teaching Portfolio provides an excellent overview of the teaching portfolio and its components. Several example portfolios are provided at the end of the book.
The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University has excellent online resources about developing a teaching portfolio.
For More Help or Information
The CITL conducts workshops for graduate students every fall and spring on how to develop a teaching portfolio, and departments may request department-specific workshops as well. We also maintain a non-circulating collection of portfolios created by graduate students. We can offer similar departmental workshops on teaching portfolios and evidence of teaching excellence for faculty members.