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Office of Teaching Evaluation and Assessment Research

The Teaching Portfolio

Definition, Purposes, and Form

The Teaching Portfolio is best thought of as a documented statement of a faculty member's teaching responsibilities, philosophy, goals and accomplishments as a teacher. It is a flexible document, and can be used in a number of ways, depending upon the needs and interests of the faculty member. It can be an extensive collection of information, or something much more compact and limited. Below, the basic structure of a teaching portfolio, one that can be adjusted to suit the needs of any department or faculty member, is presented.

Basic Teaching Portfolio

There are three major parts in the basic portfolio:

 1. Teaching responsibilities

What I did. This section is typically a list with a brief explanation of the faculty member's teaching responsibilities. In essence it describes "What I did." with supportive narrative as to the content, level, size, special circumstances, or other relevant details about the courses. For example, the faculty member would list courses taught by title, term it was taught, number of students enrolled, whether a lecture or a seminar, etc. Also, any independent study courses, honors courses, or dissertation mentoring would be included here.

2. Teaching philosophy and goals

Why I did it. Secondly the faculty member states his or her philosophy and goals for teaching. The focus of this "Why I did it." section faces questions like:

  • Given my responsibilities, what goals did I attempt to reach through my teaching?
  • Why did I choose to teach in the manner I used?
  • What was I trying to achieve as a teacher?
  • What did I expect my students to gain from my course: mastery of content, critical thinking skills, etc?

For example, an instructor may state that he or she wants to students to develop critical thinking skills. Then the instructor explains that this goal lead to a different style of teaching beyond the content-based lecture to include cooperative learning activities and out of class research assignments.

3. Evidence of effective teaching

How I did. Finally a collection of data and documents present a record showing how well the faculty member met his or her teaching goals. This "How I did." section includes a review and interpretation of the results of student survey ratings, any materials from a peer review of teaching materials, alumni letters, teaching awards and classroom assessments of student learning.

As in the example above in (2), if a instructor states as a goal that students should develop critical thinking skill, then evidence to show how this goal has been accomplished should be presented, e.g., results from exams, assignments and classroom assessments that show progress towards critical thinking skills, results from students' evaluations, etc.


Part 1. Teaching responsibilities:

A statement outlining the faculty member's teaching responsibilities for the period under discussion, i.e., the type, size and format of the courses taught.

Part 2. Teaching philosophy and goals:

A statement of the faculty member's personal teaching philosophy and goals, and the strategies and methods used to attain those goals.

Part 3. Evidence of effective teaching:

Sample course syllabi

Descriptions of innovation in course or curricula, including new courses, new materials, new teaching tools, or innovative class assignments.

Grants received for the improvement of teaching.

Awards for teaching.

Methods used to evaluate and improve one's teaching.

  1. Results of student rating forms
  2. Reports on peer review of teaching and classroom observations
  3. Reports on mid-course evaluations of teaching.
  4. Letters from students
  5. Letters from alumni
  6. Evidence of student learning; assessment of student learning.


A good teaching portfolio is one that has clear statements of teaching responsibilities and goals, and solid evidence showing how those goals have been reached. A teaching portfolio is a dynamic document, in that it must be updated continuously. It becomes a lifetime record of a faculty members scholarly achievements as a teacher.

References for further reading:

AAHE Monograph, The Teaching Portfolio: Capturing the Scholarship of Teaching Washington, DC: AAHE Publications, 1991 [Available in OTEAR Library]

Seldin, Peter The Teaching Portfolio, Bolton, MA:Anker Publishing Company, 1991. [Available in OTEAR library]

Reaction: If you would be interested in attending a OTEAR presentation on teaching portfolios, please send your name, department and phone number to the OTEAR at 116 College Avenue, e-mail: please replace "brokenmail" with
Telephone: (848) 932-7466.



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