A teaching portfolio is the result of a process of deliberate and intentional reflection on teaching. It can focus solely on the development of a single course (the course portfolio) or on teaching in general (the teaching portfolio). Some faculty members prefer to write what is sometimes referred to as a professional portfolio, which includes documentation and reflection on all scholarly work, including research. See Ohio State UCAT “Teaching Portfolio” for details on and distinctions between the three. Thus, the first step in writing a portfolio is to determine which is appropriate for your specific situation.
If you are offering the portfolio to your department head to discuss revising or expanding on a course or to share your approach to teaching and learning in a course—perhaps as part of a conversation of a specific teaching evaluation, then the course portfolio is for you. However, if your goal is to somehow capture your approach to teaching in general to include in a job application or in the tenure and promotion review process, then the teaching or professional portfolio may be more appropriate.
Portfolios are unique documents (or electronic files) that can vary tremendously in length and style—there is no one-size-fits-all design; they can take the form of anything from bound documents to Prezi files with imbedded links. Many include the following:
- Purpose statement
- Teaching philosophy
- Description of teaching experience and responsibilities
- Course materials: evidence of training in specific instructional methods, instructional design materials, syllabi, course websites, lesson plans, assignments, exams
- Evidence of teaching effectiveness: samples of student work, student feedback, formative evaluation reports, department evaluations, recordings of classes in action, peer review reports, Teaching Enhancement Plans
- Teaching awards and recognition
- Professional development
- Reflections on teaching
Portfolios can be excellent tools for reflecting on, evaluating and improving your own teaching. Rather than waiting until you need them, consider taking the time to create these documents on your own, and revisit and revise them regularly throughout your career.
See the links on this page for portfolio-writing guidelines and examples, and contact the Institute for Teaching and Learning if you would like help getting started on your own portfolio.
- Carnegie Melon Eberly Center “Teaching Portfolios”—step-by-step guide to envisioning a portfolio
- Vanderbilt University “Teaching Portfolios”—statistics on the portfolio’s value in the job search, how-to instructions, samples, and links to resources
- University of Michigan “Teaching Portfolios and Course Portfolios”—links to articles on portfolios
- University of Michigan “The Teaching Portfolio”—short, concise explanations of a portfolio’s contents
- Ohio State UCAT “Teaching Portfolio”—details, how-to instructions, and links regarding course portfolios, professional portfolios and teaching portfolios