Curate a Teaching Portfolio

Why Should I Create a Teaching Portfolio?

Whether you are a graduate student intending to hit the job market or a faculty member contemplating your tenure dossier, the teaching portfolio is an important collection of artifacts and reflections that describe your style and growth as a teacher. These resources offer concrete suggestions for what to include in your teaching portfolio and how to assemble it.

What is a Teaching Portfolio?

A teaching portfolio is a factual description of an instructor’s teaching accomplishments supported by relevant data and analyzed by the instructor to show the thinking process behind the artifacts. Most portfolios are NOT collections of everything that the instructor has done in the way of teaching over his or her entire career. Rather they are selected samples that illustrate how that individual’s teaching is carried out in the various venues in which teaching occurs. Edgerton, Hutchings and Quinlan (1991) describe portfolios as follows:

  1. Portfolios provide documented evidence of teaching that is connected to the specifics and contexts of what is being taught.
  2. They go beyond exclusive reliance on student ratings because they include a range of evidence from a variety of sources such as syllabi, samples of student work, self-reflections, reports on classroom research, and faculty development efforts.
  3. In the process of selecting and organizing their portfolio material, faculty think hard about their teaching, a practice that is likely to lead to improvement in practice.
  4. In deciding what should go into a portfolio and how it should be evaluated, institutions must address the question of what is effective teaching and what standards should drive teaching practice.
  5. Portfolios are a step toward a more public, professional view of teaching. They reflect teaching as a scholarly activity.

How Do I Create a Teaching Portfolio?

1. Clarify teaching responsibilities

Start with an understanding of your teaching identity as articulated in your teaching statement and the role that you are expected to play in the jobs you are applying to. This will help you determine what kinds of specifics need to be documented.
2. Select items for your Portfolio

Select artifacts that reflect your teaching identity as articulated in your teaching statement and are relevant to expected teaching responsibilities rather than gathering every piece of data that can be found.
3. Prepare statements on each item

Prepare statements on each item that shows its relation to your teaching identity and expected responsibilities.
4. Arrange the items in order

The order might be in terms of importance to your responsibilities or chronological to show growth over time. The prder can also be by categories of teaching responsibilities to show breadth.
5. Compile the supporting data

Evidence relating to the statements on each item should be gathered to support conclusions drawn. This evidence is best placed in an appendix.

 

What Should I Include in the Portfolio?

Your teaching statement, or statement of teaching philosophy, is the cornerstone of your portfolio. The teaching statement tells a story about your identity as a teacher, what goals you have for your students, how you help students achieve those goals, and how you assess student learning.

The other artifacts you choose to include in your portfolio should reflect the vision you have portrayed of yourself as an instructor in your teaching statement. Edgerton, Hutchings and Quinlan (1991) drew from a study at Stanford to identify four domains these additional artifacts included in a portfolio might address.

They are:

  • Course planning and preparation, represented by syllabi, handouts, lecture notes, etc.
  • Actual teaching presentation, represented by comments from observers, written comments from student evaluations, or tapes of actual class sessions.
  • Evaluation of and feedback for students. Artifacts could be evaluation assignments, students’ graded work, and a brief discussion by the instructor about how feedback was given.
  • Currency in the field, represented by changes in the courses as new developments in the field arise, currency of reading materials assigned or drawn on for course presentations, or attendance at professional conferences that resulted in changes in content or methods of teaching.

References

Centra, John A. (2000). Evaluating the Teaching Portfolio: A Role for Colleagues. In Ryan, K.E. (ed). Evaluating Teaching in Higher Education: A vision for the future. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Vol. 83, 87-93.

Edgerton, R., Hutchings, P. and Quinlan, K. (1991) The Teaching Portfolio: Capturing the Scholarship in Teaching. Washington, DC: The American Association for Higher Education.

Seldin, Peter and Associates (1993) Successful Use of Teaching Portfolios. Belton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Seldin, P., Miller, J. E., & Seldin, C.A. (2010). The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions (4th Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.