Once you have gathered the supporting documents you need, it generally takes a total
of 12 to 15 hours to prepare your portfolio

How do you go about choosing what will be most appropriate?

One helpful strategy is to think about a teaching portfolio as an argument — much like one you would
make in a scholarly article or monograph — in which you provide the reader with a
context, state a main point or theme, and then select and organize the rest of the material
around that point.

Two of the greatest pitfalls in developing a portfolio are including too
much material and inserting it in raw form (without explaining why it is there).

Thinking
of the portfolio as an argument can help you avoid these pitfalls by giving you a method
for selecting and shaping the material that will go into it.


As you would with any argument, consider its purpose and audience:


• Why are you creating this portfolio? For tenure or promotion? For a teaching
award? For your own developmental purposes? Or for some other reason?


• Who will be its primary readers? (Of course, if you are creating this portfolio
for yourself, you will be its primary reader. But you may ask colleagues to
review and discuss the material with you.)

While preparing your portfolio, consider working with a mentor (or mentors). An
effective mentor need not be someone who is evaluating you, but can be any faculty
member — in your own or a different discipline — who is interested in enhancing the
quality of teaching.

Components of a teaching portfolio

Teaching experience and responsibilities:

This section provides a context for the main points you make about your teaching. Here you summarize courses you are teaching or have taught in the recent past, including number of credit hours, whether the
course was required or elective, number of students, and whether they were graduate or
undergraduate.

Teaching activities outside the classroom such as advising graduate or undergraduate students, supervising students engaged in independent studies, and otherwise mentoring students, are also important to include.

Teaching philosophy and goals

Despite its typical brevity (about 1-2 pages long), this statement is the foundation on which the portfolio is built.

Your aim here is to answer in some way one main question: Why do you do what you do as a teacher?
Reflections on this question generally include four components, which may be discussed
separately or be intertwined in some way.

Your beliefs about how student learning in your field occurs.


• Given those reflections, your beliefs about how you as a teacher can best help
students learn.

Teaching methods and strategies

As you describe how you teach, keep in mind what you have said in your teaching philosophy statement. It may help the reader if you explicitly state some connection (perhaps in a simple phrase) between what you are describing in this section and how it relates to your teaching philosophy statement. In the
same or a separate section, also reflect on the effectiveness of your teaching

Activities undertaken to improve teaching

Your discussions and evidence from preceding sections may lead you to consider what worked, what did not, why, and how to change what needs changing to improve your effectiveness as a teacher. The material you have gathered so far might also lead you to consider what is missing: What
have you not done that you think would be worthwhile trying?

Goals and plans for the future

In relation to what you have so far included in your portfolio, what goals to improve your teaching would you like to accomplish in the next few years? How do you plan to accomplish them?

Keeping Your Portfolio Up to Date

Periodically revising your portfolio is a good way to continue reflecting on your teaching, as well as to keep material readily available for a periodic multiyear review (PMYR), a teaching award, or other evaluative purposes.

The end of each semester or school year is a good time to go through your teaching development files, discard outdated material, and add current data.

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