Teaching Portfolios at UBCO

The UBC Okanagan Teaching Evaluation Committee recommends that UBC Okanagan faculty create and keep a Teaching Dossier/Portfolio up to date. This will outline, for example, the instructor’s teaching philosophy and methods, course outlines and innovations, participation in teaching workshops and team teaching, pedagogical publications or conference presentations, students’ achievements and their letters of appreciation, evidence of effective undergrad and grad research thesis supervision, etc.

A teaching dossier or portfolio is a factual description of an instructor’s teaching achievements and contains documentation that collectively suggests the scope and quality of his or her teaching. Faculty can be asked to address issues identified as “best practices” in UBC Okanagan’s Academic Plan. Dossiers can be used to present evidence about teaching quality for evaluative purposes such as Tenure & Promotion submissions, teaching award nominations, etc., as they can provide a useful context for analyzing other forms of teaching evaluation. Alternatively, dossiers can provide the framework for a systematic program of reflective analysis and peer collaboration leading to improvement of teaching and student learning. This guide has been developed to help you systematically gather selected information and materials in support of teaching activities as you experience them. Self-analysis and reflection are the keys here, and the outcomes of that analysis are twofold: you make a strong case to others about your teaching competency, and you help yourself to understand and improve your approaches to teaching and learning.

Some form of the Teaching Dossier (or Teaching Portfolio, as it is called in the US and UK) is either required or strongly encouraged in a large number of universities for both reflection and assessment, and the numbers are growing. There is some evidence to support the claim that individuals using the Dossier demonstrate improvement in levels of teaching and learning (Seldin and Associates, 1993).

A. Approach to Teaching

1. Philosophy
2. Teaching Goals & Strategies
3. Relationship to UBC Okanagan’s Academic Plan

B. Teaching Activities

1. Teaching Responsibilities
2. Supervising and Advising Students
3. Activities Engaged in to Improve Teaching and Learning
4. Committee Service (Teaching and Learning Issues)
5. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
(publications & professional contributions)

C. Evidence of Student Learning

D. Teaching Reflections

The primary document should be from five to eight pages in length, which includes the philosophy of teaching statement, summary of teaching activities, and evidence of teaching effectiveness. If you are using the teaching portfolio for the purpose of promotion and tenure, the brevity of the primary document allows for its passage through the system from Department, to Dean, to Senior Appointments Committee, where relevant. It is in your interest to insert subheadings from your teaching portfolio into MyCV so that evidence of your teaching activities and accomplishments go forward to the Dean and to the Senior Appointments Committee.

You will want to feature:

  • How you effectively facilitate student learning and work to achieve the desired student outcomes (Good teaching)
  • How you practice scholarly teaching, that is “good teaching that is reflective and evidence-based; maintaining “pedagogical content knowledge”
  • Your involvement in the systematic study of teaching and learning processes, and the sharing and review of such work (the scholarship of teaching and learning)

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

Barrett, H. (2000). Electronic teaching portfolios: Multimedia skills + portfolio development = powerful professional development. In B. Cambridge (Ed.), Electronic Portfolios (pp. 110-116). Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.

Chism, N.V.N. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Toward the Best in the Academy: Essays on Teaching Excellence, 9 (3). Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.

O’Neil, C., & Wright, A. (1992). Recording teaching accomplishment: A Dalhousie guide to the teaching dossier. Halifax, NS: Dalhousie University, Office of Instructional Development and Technology.

Ross, D., Bondy, E., Hartle, L., Lamme, L., and Webb, R. (1995). Guidelines for Portfolio Preparation: implications from an analysis of teaching portfolios at the University of Florida. Innovative Higher Education, 20 (1), 45-62.

Seldin, Peter and Associates (1993) . Successful Use of Teaching Portfolios. Anker Publishing, Bolton, MA.

Seldin, P. (2004) The Teaching Portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Co.

Shore, Bruce M., et al (revised 1986, reprinted 1991). The CAUT Guide to The Teaching Dossier. Its Preparation and Use. Canadian Association of University Teachers, Ottawa, Ontario.

Teaching Documentation Guide, (1993). Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning, York University, Toronto.

Teaching Dossier: A Guide, (1996). University Teaching Services, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.

Urbach, F. (1992). Developing a Teaching Portfolio. College Teaching 40 (2), 71-74.

Weeks, P. (1998). The Teaching Portfolio: a professional development tool. International Journal of Academic Development, 3(1), 70-74.

For more information and samples of the various parts, visit