After a thorough examination of the teaching review process, the Faculty Senate-commissioned Beyond SETs Task Force found that the use of a teaching portfolio for the review of teaching would allow faculty to “demonstrate teaching excellence in a variety of ways” (Faculty Manual, p. 37) beyond the singular use of student evaluations of teaching (SETs). This decision will promote a more holistic approach to reviewing teaching for purposes of tenure, promotion, multi-year appointment, and recognition of faculty at American University.
A teaching portfolio is a “factual description of a professor’s teaching strengths and accomplishments… [that] includes documents and materials that collectively suggest the scope and quality of a professor’s teaching performance” (Seldin, Miller & Seldin, 2010, p. 4). A teaching portfolio provides an in-depth documentation of teaching that will allow you to showcase and contextualize your teaching, situated within your department, school, and field. To that end, we encourage you to first speak with the chair of your teaching unit or refer to your departmental guidelines on how to construct your portfolio.
Creating Your Portfolio
In order to ensure a comprehensive examination of your teaching, you should include a variety of evidence when gathering and creating materials for your teaching portfolio. Just as you include a list of publications to demonstrate your scholarship, so too should your teaching portfolio provide documentation of your teaching accomplishments.
Based upon the Beyond SETs Task Force’s work, there are a variety of items you can include in your teaching portfolio under three assessment categories: self, peer, and student. Please confirm with your respective deans and department chairs if there are any specific items expected or if you are free to choose what to include.
If you are a term faculty seeking reappointment and continuing appointment, you are expected to create an abridged portfolio with at least three items: teaching narrative, SET numerical scores, and one item from any of the three assessment categories.
If you are a term faculty seeking reappointment with promotion or tenure-line faculty seeking any action, you are expected to put together the full portfolio with five items: teaching narrative, SET numerical scores, and one item from each of the three assessment categories.
If you are a graduate student or adjunct faculty creating a portfolio for the academic job market, we encourage you to include at least one item from each of the five categories to create a holistic portfolio.
CTRL has created guides to help you put together different elements of your portfolio that will be periodically updated to reflect best practices: