Show Your Work: Teaching Philosophies & Portfolios

by: Shannon Hampton, Instructor
College of Business, Design and Innovation Management

What is the value of having a teaching philosophy and a portfolio? Today we learned in the T4 Presentation: Teaching Philosophies and Portfolios, the answer to this question and many more. 57% of people applying for faculty positions are using a portfolio in place of or in addition to a CV or resume.

Seldin (2006) describes the teaching portfolio as “a collection of materials that document teaching performance…. It is flexible enough to be used for tenure and promotion decisions or to provide the stimulus and structure for self-reflection about areas in need of improvement” (p.3).

Once we’ve answered the why, we learned about the what- What do we put in this portfolio and where to start? As a new instructor with just one term under her belt, this seams daunting. Choosing a tool is suggested as a great place to start and I feel confident that I can do this. Some are using the campus Canvas tool to house their portfolios however we are told there are limitations to who can view it and it’s not easy to transfer outside of the university. Other options we learned about are google sites, Wix, Padlet, EduClipper (now called Participate), Weebly and Digication.

Next work on the design and layout, easy for a designer, maybe not for others but even google sites comes with easy tools to use and layouts from which to choose. One way to organize is to include all the 6+ Principles of University Teaching:

Principle #1: Consider the Audience
Principle #2: Plan
Principle #3: Enhance Engagement
Principle #4: Teach
Principle #5: Assess
Principle #6: Reflect

Now include artifacts and essays as well as your current teaching philosophy. It’s better to show what’s important and an evolution and not just the high scores and the wins. My first win is the layout I created in google sites at the conclusion of this talk and my next win will be starting a statement of my teaching philosophy that I can include in my portfolio. I’ve shared my philosophy verbally, but I think there is such value in documenting it and having an artifact to share with students as I introduce myself to them and the course they are about to experience. I hope to make myself and the material more accessible by first developing and then sharing this document.

As this portfolio evolves, I can see that it will be a valuable tool for communicating who I am as a teacher and what I have accomplished, my goals and even what I need to work on in the future. Broken down into parts it is less daunting and more fun than I expected going into the talk. One of my philosophies: “Progress, not Perfection” is in play as I building this communication tool over the next few terms.

References: Seldin, P. (2006). Evaluating faculty performance: A practical guide to assessing teaching, research, and service. Anker Publishing Company.

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