Components of a Teaching Portfolio

Overview ›      Documenting Student Evaluations ›

  1. Statement of Teaching Philosophy. A polished, narrative statement similar to that describing one's goals as a researcher. For further information, see Iowa State University's "Writing a Teaching Philosophy".
  2. Description of one's past responsibilities as a teacher and advisor.
  3. A list of classes taught (as a course head, Teaching Fellow, or Tutor). This list might include additional data such as the number of students enrolled, the type of student taking the class – concentrators, first-year students, non-specialists, graduate students, etc. (This may be combined with #2 above and included on the curricula vita instead of in the teaching portfolio.)
  4. Objective and subjective evaluation of teaching skills. A list or chart of your Q scores by course accompanied by an explanation of how you interpret these results. You may also include student commentary (solicited or unsolicited) about your teaching.
  5. Description of efforts to reflect on and improve upon one's teaching. If you have served as a Bok Center Departmental TF or Graduate Writing Fellow, participated in the Christensen Discussion Leading Seminar, or have given professional presentations such as at a Bok Center Teaching Conference or at a departmental workshop in teacher training, be sure to note this on your curricula vita or in a short reflective statement in your teaching portfolio.
  6. Letters of recommendation. A letter, written by a course head for whom you have taught, that focuses specifically on your skills and ability as a teacher, advisor, and/or course administrator.
  7. Prospective syllabi. Sample syllabi of courses you have designed and taught (for example, a junior tutorial) and/or syllabi for courses you are prepared to teach if hired by the particular university/college where you are interviewing for a job.
  8. Video clips documentation teaching. A video segment of you leading a section or delivering a course lecture.
  9. Sample student work with accompanying evaluation. This might be a photocopy of a student paper, with marginalia and an end comment evaluating the essay or report as a whole.

Documenting Student Evaluations

  1. Request and save your Q scores (with student comments) for each course you teach.
  2. Include Q cover sheets and/or a synopsis of written student remarks as part of your portfolio. You may select quotes from several students to highlight specific aspects of your teaching, offering "more detailed evaluations upon request."
  3. Obtain "teaching recommendations" from two to three students. The following tips have been adapted from The GSAS Guide for TFs on Writing Letters of Recommendation:
    • Promptly identify yourself and the basis of your knowledge of the instructor: Were you their student in a tutorial or small seminar? How often did it meet, how many students? How many papers? Do you also know the instructor through exposure in the tutorial system, or some other capacity? Has your acquaintance been sustained over a number of years?
    • In evaluating an instructor's intellectual and pedagogical capabilities, describe the instructor's distinctive or individual strengths. Back up your judgment with concrete examples - class activities, organization, discussion leading or lecturing skills, paper comments or other writing assistance, general mentorship. Above all, avoid the misconception that the more superlatives that you use, the stronger the letter. Heavy use of stock phrases or cliches in general is unhelpful. Your letter can only be effective if it contains substantive information about the instructor's qualifications.
    • In discussing an instructor's character, proceed in a similar fashion to the intellectual evaluation, highlighting individual traits and providing concrete illustrations.
    • After discussing each of the above points, your letter should have some brief summation, giving the main thrust of your recommendation for the candidate.
  4. GSAS students: make use of the Office of Career Service's web-basedDossier Service to manage your letters of recommendation.