Assembling the Portfolio

Before you begin, remember:

  • Understand the context. Consult with your peers, department head and promotion/tenure committee to determine the type of portfolio that suits your unit’s needs. It pays to familiarize yourself with University and Faculty mission statements and the Academic Plan – your teaching may exemplify aspects of that mission.
  • Know which teaching criteria your department and faculty use to assess instruction.

Prior to beginning the data collection process, think about the areas that you wish to highlight in your teaching practices.

  • Think about the content you will include in your portfolio how your portfolio will be organized. Each area that you choose to highlight will require supportive documentation. For example, you may wish to show evidence of improving student knowledge and skills acquisition, or of moving away from instructorcentered and towards student-centered teaching.
  • Assume nothing. Begin now to collect any information pertaining to teaching, and err on the side of documenting and saving too much, since you will need to base your case on evidence. You can, and should, discard some of the material later. For example, retain copies of all items referred to in this guide, including exemplary course outlines and learning objectives, innovative assignments, samples of student projects, and more. Check your updates annually, just as you do for your curriculum vitae.
  • Brevity is the key. Five to eight pages tell the story of your teaching, supported by additional documentation and information as detailed in this document.
  • Don’t write the introduction too soon! The introduction to a portfolio is extremely important. There is no second chance to make a good first impression. You can only write a really good introduction when you know exactly what you’re introducing, so leave the introduction until you’ve more or less finished everything else in your portfolio. You can, of course, write a draft introduction, but this is probably best as a bullet-point list, or a mind-map sketch