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Increasing Use of Teaching Portfolios

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I've recently noticed an increased discussion of teaching portfolios in engineering at my university. I know they have been used for some time by graduate students in the humanities, but now I'm hearing more discussion of them in engineering, and not just for graduate students. Have any of you had a similar experience? 

Teaching portfolios are the pedagogical equivalent of the professional (or scholarly, research-oriented) curriculum vitae. In addition to being a potential asset to graduate students and posstdocs seeking academic position s, they can be useful as an on-going professional self-development tool, and as a one means of evaluating the scholarship of teaching. According to Edgerton, et al [1]: 

"When it comes to research, faculty take for granted that it is their responsibility to present evidence of accomplishment. In the case of teaching, however, evaluation often appears to be something that happens to faculty - be it through student course ratings or obligatory classroom visits by chairs or deans. Portfolios place the initiative for documenting and displaying teaching back in the hands of the person who is doing it; they put the teacher bac k in charge....selecting, assembling, and explaining portfolio entries that accurately represent actual performance." 

A typical portfolio might include [2]: 

Work samples from current or recent teaching responsibilities such as: 

  • course materials prepared for students such as exams, handouts, and discussion questions, 
  • essays, field or lab reports and other student works with TA critiques and feedback, 
  • an edited videotape or written case study of a classroom teaching experience, and 
  • a reflective memo on the course syllabus, if you developed the syllabus yourself or collaborated with others in developing it. Documents of one's professional development as a teacher such as: 
  • records of changes resulting from self-evaluation, and 
  • evidence of participation in workshops, seminars and professional meetings intended to improve teaching. 

Information from others such as: 

  • statements from colleagues who observed your teaching, and 
  • invitations to teach from outside agencies. 

Tips for developing a teaching portfolio [3]: 

  • Start compiling samples for your portfolio as soon as possible. 
  • Form the habit of filing away samples of work which demonstrates your teaching. 
  • Select those items which you deem to be the best examples of your work demonstrating teaching quality. 
  • The format of your teaching portfolio will vary, depending on intended use. 
  • Be sure the format is well organized and presents your work with care, neatness, and creativity. 
  • After you secure a job, plan to continue to retain copies of your work. 

Here are some World Wide Web URL?s that can help you learn more about the preparation and use of teaching portfolios: 


Please send any additional references to me for posting. Also, any comments on the preparation and uses - or misuses - of teaching portfolios would be most welcome. 

Rick Reis 

[1] R. Edgerton, P. Hutchings, and K. Quinlan, The Teaching Portfolio - Capturing the Scholarship of Teaching, Washington, DC: American Association of Higher Education, 1991, p. 5. 

[2] Ibid. p. 9 

[3] Teaching Portfolio Preparation. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Career Planning and Placement Center, Oct. 1994, p.1.