Portfolios

Teaching Portfolios

What is a teaching portfolio?

  • A document that contains carefully selected and assembled materials and representative artifacts of one’s achievements in teaching [1]
  • A reflection of one’s beliefs, preparation, thoughtfulness, and innovation in teaching

Why create a teaching portfolio?

The teaching portfolio can serve many purposes, some of which include:

  • To document teaching effectiveness
  • To reflect on teaching philosophies [2]
  • An occasion to assess one’s practices, to question one’s methods, and to plan for the future
  • As a formative tool to improve teaching strategies
  • As a supplement to the curricula vitae

At UBC-V, portfolios are typically required as part of the tenure and promotion process. For those in the Educational Leadership stream, your portfolio "travels" all the way up to the Senior Appointments Committee.

Getting started

If you are preparing your portfolio for a job application or as part of promotion and tenure, starting a few months in advance is not too soon because portfolios take time to craft and assemble. Before you begin, consult your department head to better understand the process, expectations, and deadlines.

Though starting a portfolio can be a daunting task, there are many resources and guides available to help you. We invite you to read and consider the information provided in the tabs above. Here at CTLT, we occasionally offer teaching portfolio workshops. You may contact us for an individualized one-on-one consultation anytime.

Contact

For more information, please contact Isabeau Iqbal at isabeau.iqbal@ubc.ca or Lucas Wright at lucas.wright@ubc.ca

References

  1. Zayani, M. (2001). The teaching portfolio: Toward an alternative outcomes assessment. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education, 18(1), 58–64.
  2. Teaching Statements. Center for Teaching. Vanderbilt University.

What Goes Into a Teaching Portfolio?

The contents of your portfolio will be based on the purpose of the portfolio, the discipline, and the importance assigned by to different items by your department and Faculty [1]. The teaching portfolio is a highly personalized product that is typically written in the first-person (i.e., "I"...).

The content in your portfolio is a demonstration of the beliefs, values, and approaches you have articulated in your teaching philosophy statement. It contains a narrative and a curated collection of your teaching materials that best illustrate your teaching approach and methods.

Portfolios are typically 10-25 pages in length, excluding appendices.

For details on what to include in your portfolio, please see the following:

  • Teaching Philosophy Statement
  • Teaching Activities
  • Demonstration of Teaching Effectiveness and Reflections

References

  1. 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.

Teaching Philosophy Statement

A teaching philosophy statement is a purposeful and reflective essay about your teaching beliefs and practices [1]. It is an individual narrative that offers concrete examples of the ways in which you enact these beliefs in the classroom. It is typically 1-2 pages in length, written from the first person and in the present tense [2]. It includes any of the following:

  • Your approach to teaching
  • A description of how your teaching facilitates student learning
  • A reflection of why you teach the way you do
  • The goals you have for yourself and for your students
  • How your teaching enacts your beliefs and goals
  • What, for you, constitutes evidence of student learning
  • The ways in which you create an inclusive learning environment

As appropriate, draw from scholarly literature to help ground the approaches you take and beliefs you hold.

To assist you in writing your teaching philosophy statement, you may find the questions below helpful[3]:

Teaching Approach
  • Why do you teach the way you do? (How does your approach connect to your conception of how learning occurs? How does it link to your discipline?)
  • How does your teaching facilitate student learning?
  • How does your teaching reflect your beliefs and goals?
Instructor-Student Rapport
  • How would you describe the atmosphere in your classroom (e.g., online, blended, face-to-face, etc.)? How do you think your students would describe it?
  • How do you create an inclusive learning environment?
Teaching Goals and Strategies
  • What goals do you have for yourself and for your students?
  • How do your courses contribute to students' achievements in their university program and in their community?
  • What is your approach to designing a course and/or other learning experiences?
  • How do you assess students' learning and why do you choose this approach?
Teaching Aspirations
  • How would you like to grow as a teacher? What steps are you taking towards this?
  • In which ways has your teaching changed in the last five years? Are these changes for the better (for you, for your students)? Explain.
  • What would you like your students to remember about you as a teacher ten years from now?

Additional Resources

Here are some more resources to help you get started in writing and evaluating your teaching philosophy statement.

  • Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement. Faculty and TA Development. The Ohio State University.
    • This site provides an in-depth guide to teaching philosophy statements, including the definition of and purposes for a teaching philosophy statement, general formatting suggestions (this section has some very good suggestions), a self-reflective guide, and additional links to sample graduate teaching assistant portfolios.
  • Rubric for Statements of Teaching Philosophy. Center for Research on Learning and Technology. University of Michigan.
    • A rubric for evaluating teaching philosophy statements created by CRLT. The design of the rubric was informed by their experience with hundreds of teaching philosophies, as well as surveys of search committees on what they considered successful and unsuccessful components of job applicants’ teaching philosophies
  • 4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy, written by James Lang (2010) and featured in the Advice section in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Dr. Steve Wolfman has put together some excellent resources for creating a tenure packet. See here for his advice on preparing for/writing the teaching philosophy statement.

Here are some teaching philosophy statement examples:

  • Christina Hendricks, Professor of Teaching, Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia, CA
  • Diane Peters, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University, US
  • Greg Martin, Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia, CA
  • Katherine Fiori, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Adelphi University, US

References

Teaching Activities

Now that you have articulated your teaching philosophy, you can build a case and connect that to your approach/beliefs/values as described in your philosophy. The information below provides guidelines for what to include; you may encounter overlap and will need to decide what works best for you. Please consult your Department for templates and requirements.

Teaching Responsibilities

Key information includes course titles and codes, enrolment numbers, and succinct descriptions of your roles and responsibilities for each course.

You may wish to include information about:

  • Teaching methods used in the classroom (e.g., collaborative inquiry, problem-based learning, case studies, lecture, small group discussion, problem solving, project-based, student presentations)
  • Information about how you design your course (or other learning experiences), how you think about and incorporate assessment of learning, attention to inclusivity, etc
  • Where appropriate, the number of teaching assistants assigned to assist you in the course and the nature of their involvement.
  • Details of other teaching activities such as invited lectures, special projects, seminars, advising students, supervision of a teaching or research practicum

In this sample, Dr. Greg Chan outlines his teaching responsibilities in the undergraduate classroom and provides sample syllabi.

Contributions to the Teaching Profession and/or Your Institution

This is an opportunity to share about innovative teaching strategies and other contributions you have made to curriculum and/or course development. As you write about this, resist the temptation to simply list your activities; consider how to include evidence of impact.

You may wish to include information about:

  • Workshops and seminars about teaching that you designed and instructed, including number of people who attended and any follow-up activities
  • Curriculum materials - details of published and unpublished curriculum materials, textbooks, workbooks, case studies, class notes, lab manuals
  • Research and professional contributions related to teaching - books, articles, papers in conference proceedings, bibliographies, newsletters

In this sample, Dr. Christina Hendricks (UBC) provides evidence of her educational leadership.


Supervising and Advising Students

Set the context of your supervisory duties.

You may wish to include information about:

  • Names of those supervised and the nature and extent of the supervisory activity. It is also useful to indicate the outcome of the supervision (e.g. the thesis title and acceptance date, the citation information of a student publication, or the date and venue of a public performance)
  • Supervision of graduate and undergraduate independent study or directed readings
  • Advising and mentorship on program of study, courses, or career and professional advice
  • Supervision which has contributed to publications and conference presentations

In this sample, Dr. Aimee Lee Houde lists the the names of those advised and her extent of supervision (page 3).

Professional Development in Teaching

This section describes the professional development activities (reading, conferences, courses, workshops) you have engaged in to enhance your abilities as an instructor. By including this section, you demonstrate engagement with and commitment to teaching--especially when you include a description of how you used the new information in your teaching.

You may wish to include information about:

  • Workshops, sessions, or certification that is specific to your development as an instructor
  • What key skills you gained and/or changes you made in your teaching as a result of participating in the activity
  • Attendance at professional training, orientation, or development sessions for faculty, such as orientation sessions for new faculty

In this sample, Dr. Jenélle Dowling summarizes her attendance at professional development activities and how she uses this knowledge in her classroom.

Committee Service

Many departmental, Faculty and University-wide activities do not take place in classrooms but do provide important support for teaching.

You may wish to include information about

  • Relevant activities that you have undertaken as a member of a Faculty, department, or cross-disciplinary committee, subcommittee, ad hoc committee, or task force. If relevant, consider membership in the Senate, Board of Governors, library committees, teaching and scholarship committees, Advisory Boards, teaching awards committees (faculty awards, university awards, special awards e.g. TA teaching) and other committees working on academic policy, curriculum, review, planning and implementation as they pertain to teaching activity
  • Teaching assistant professional training, orientation, or development
  • Involvement in establishing, adjudicating, or administering awards or honours recognizing and celebrating student achievement
  • Observing others teaching as part of formal or informal evaluation and feedback regarding teaching effectiveness

In this sample, Dr. Kyle James Matthews provides a succinct list of his departmental service, college/university service, and national service.

Documenting Your Teaching Effectiveness and Reflections

This section typically includes various sources of information that, collectively, demonstrate your teaching effectiveness. It is important to include your own reflections about your effectiveness based on data gathered from the various sources listed below. Equally important is sharing how you used the feedback in your growth as a teacher. You may wish to include the ways that you monitor and evaluate your own teaching and reflect on what the evidence gathered tells you about your teaching.

Materials to draw from to document your effectiveness and to reflect on your teaching [1]:

  • Summarized student evaluations of teaching, including response rate and relationship to departmental average
  • Selected comments from the student evaluations of teaching
  • Unsolicited and solicited letters from students (initiated by the unit)
  • Student-initiated feedback and written comments from students on class evaluations
  • Statements from alumni
  • Letters from course head, division head or chairperson
  • Departmental teaching evaluations (initiated by the unit)
  • Peer evaluations or reviews based on visits to your classroom and/or scrutiny of your course materials. Note: before peer observations are undertaken, your department should be clear about the teaching aims and student learning outcomes that apply to your undergraduate or graduate program.
  • Teaching recognitions such as (1) awards received by your department, institution, and external awards (professional association, national and international teaching awards) and (2) funding received to pursue a teaching initiative. Note: Nominations for awards also indicate your reputation as a teacher.

You may wish to make some concluding remarks that tie together the philosophy, approaches, evidence and evaluative sections. At this point, it is also important to detail a plan for future actions, including your motivation and challenges, as well as short and long-term teaching goals.

Additional Resources

The sample teaching portfolios below incorporate reflection and evaluations of teaching effectiveness:

  • Elizabeth Riter , Graduate Teaching Associate, Department of Civil Engineering, Ohio State University, USA
  • Kevin Dunn, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, CA
  • Martin Andresen, Professor, School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, CA

References

Educational Leadership

Educational leaders promote meaningful changes that have a deep impact beyond the classroom and documenting your educational leadership activities is necessary for candidates in both the professoriate stream and educational leadership stream. Please do not assume that your educational leadership contributions will be “obvious” to your reader; instead, work to carefully present a case for your contributions, and highlight the impact of your work (with evidence, where possible).
At UBC, a well-constructed teaching portfolio and effective curriculum vitae may be used for merit considerations and in the tenure and promotion process. The teaching portfolio allows you to meaningfully expand on, and demonstrate the impact of, initiatives (and other information) you have included in your CV.
Please consult with your department head or chair of the tenure and promotion committee to determine exactly what documentation you must supply and in what format.

Additional Resources

Paper vs. Electronic

When it comes to developing your teaching portfolio, you will need to decide on a format: it can be in paper or electronic form – some people do both.

The following are some things to consider:

Electronic Paper
Audience Who is your target reader? Which format is most accessible to your target audience (i.e. most likely to be read)? Which format does your reader expect/want?
Ability to Customize Most software allows you to make a duplicate copy of your portfolio, resave with a different name, and edit as necessary, as well as modifying the ‘look and feel’ (colours, fonts and so on). All relevant documents will need to be resaved with changes and then printed off.
Multimedia Can store pictures, video clips, sound clips, text, images. Can include text and images, as well as physical copies of CDs, DVDs and so on.
Portability Content uploaded directly to the web. Can be viewed from any computer with internet access. As it is a physical document, it is often bulky, consisting of one or more large binders.
Security Variable, depending on the portfolio software: you can invite people to view your portfolio, send a link to your portfolio, make your portfolio public, or keep it private. Portfolio can be viewed by those whom you give it to in hardcopy format.
Ability to demonstrate learning/knowledge construction over time Yes Yes
Feedback Depending on the software used to create the portfolio, others may be able to provide you with feedback and you can choose not to make feedback visible to those who read your portfolio. Feedback cannot be easily incorporated into the portfolio unless you add it as a separate document.
Potential to encourage interaction (collaboration, communication) Easy to share as a hyperlink. You can choose to release smaller parts of it to certain people and allow others to view most or all of the material on your portfolio site; you may even pre-set a time span during which a given part of your portfolio can be viewed. Can be shared by lending the physical copy or printing/photocopying more copies.
Flexibility Yes. Flexibility influenced by choice of software to create portfolio and by ability to use software. Flexible within the constraints of using paper and hardcopy artifacts.
Organizing and cataloguing learning materials Material can be easily organized, catalogued and modified; e-Portfolio software often includes tools for organizing/reorganizing materials. Materials can be organized, catalogued and modified within their source files (Word, PDF) or by reorganizing the paper copy.
Sustainability In addition to keeping your portfolio updated, regular maintenance may be required to ensure hyperlinks are still live and accurate. It is also important to note there are many ways to navigate through your portfolio and that changing one page may have cascading effects elsewhere. Sustainability depends on the frequency of updates to portfolio content. However, there are less challenges in comparison to an electronic version.
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:CTLT_Resources/Selected_TL_Topics_Portfolios