Teaching Portfolios

Evidence of teaching effectiveness.

What is a Teaching Portfolio?

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.

To learn more about teaching portfolios, please visit our Improving the Evaluation of Teaching Canvas site.

Basic Teaching Portfolio Structure

A basic teaching portfolio addresses three main questions:

1. What are your teaching responsibilities?

This section is typically a narrative containing 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, the term it was taught, the 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. What are your teaching goals and philosophy?

In this section, 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 students to develop critical thinking skills. Then the instructor explains that this goal led to a different style of teaching beyond the content-based lecture to include cooperative learning activities and out of class research assignments.

3. How do you know you were effective?

The section contains a narrative explanation of the data and documents 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, if an instructor states as a goal that students should develop critical thinking skills, 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.

Sample Format of a Teaching Portfolio

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 member’s scholarly achievements as a teacher.

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:
    • Results of student rating forms
    • Reports on peer review of teaching and classroom observations
    • Reports on mid-course evaluations of teaching.
    • Letters from students
    • Letters from alumni
    • Evidence of student learning; assessment of student learning.

Sample teaching portfolios and more resources are available on the Teaching Portfolio Canvas site.

Creating an ePortfolio

You may wish to standardize your teaching portfolio construction and storage by encouraging faculty to create online “ePortfolios.” An ePortfolio has several advantages, including freeing reviewers from boxes of portfolio materials and giving reviewers the ability to easily navigate the portfolio through embedded links. Instructors will find that a digital portfolio allows them to include multimedia and more evidence of effective teaching.

If you already use Canvas, you may easily create an ePortfolio from the accounts page. Canvas has the advantage of allowing you to select privacy settings so that your portfolio is not available to the general public. We created this Canvas page as an example.

Another web-based software choice is WordPress, which provides a variety of templates free of cost that can be modified as an ePortfolio. WordPress allows for greater visual customization than Canvas. We created this ePortfolio example with WordPress.


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