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Teaching Portfolio

The Teaching Portfolio

Purposes

A teaching portfolio is a collection of professional materials that demonstrate not only your strengths but your evolution as a teacher and your critical, reflective thinking. With a portfolio, you can proactively construct a professional profile. Potential readers include hiring committees, employers, colleagues, scholarship and grant committees, and students. A portfolio is a living document that changes over time. A number of professionals are required to keep extensive portfolios for purposes of assessment and review. For example, faculty and academic professionals at the University of Wyoming routinely submit extensive portfolios (which are called packets) in which they document excellence in teaching, research, and professional development.

  • Mark a drawer or file folder and start to collect teaching materials: syllabi, class handouts, lab manuals, articles on teaching that relate to your philosophy and pedagogy, copies of student work (be sure to get permission from students), student evaluations, peer reviews of your teaching, your own reflections on teaching, and so on.

  • Plan and choose materials for a specific purpose. Depending on your purpose, you may create more than one version of a portfolio. A specific purpose and audience will help you determine what materials to choose and how to write your analytical and reflective pieces. The portfolio should be readable in an hour or less, and it should read as one continuous document with chapters or parts, not as a collection of disparate materials.

  • Write an analytical or reflective piece to accompany each part of the portfolio. For example, if you include a set of student evaluations, write an introduction in which you explain the class, identify patterns in the evaluations, and reflect on the nature of the student comments.

  • Some parts of your portfolio should demonstrate how your teaching has evolved. For example, you could show how you changed an assignment in response to the work that student submitted the first time you used the assignment. Or you could show how you have changed a syllabus to incorporate advice from an expert.

  • Create a table of contents and write an introduction to the portfolio.

  • For ease of access and reproduction, consider creating a website to feature your professional portfolio.

 

Benefits

Graduate students who have completed portfolios in the past few years report numerous benefits. Many suggest that teaching and overall professionalism improve  as a result of planning and creating a portfolio. Working with others on portfolio projects, and publicly presenting project results establishes collegiality with and across disciplines There is no question that completing a professional portfolio significantly helps graduate students to achieve their next steps -- admission to PhD programs, awarding of graduate assistantships, or landing employment in academic and nonacademic jobs.

 

The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning has numerous resources to help you plan and complete a teaching portfolio.Visit the ECTL lending library in Coe 510 to review books and examples of completed portfolios from graduate students in a variety of disciplines. ECTL staff members are pleased to help you with creating an electronic portfolio and with planning portfolio projects.

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