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.
This is an opportunity for you to highlight your teaching practices. Based upon the Beyond SETs Task Force’s work, there is a number of items you can include in your portfolio. We encourage you to include at least one item from each of the five categories. CTRL has created guides that will be periodically updated to reflect best practices; those guides can be found in the following list (items with asterisks have guides that are currently in progress):