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What is a teaching portfolio?

What is the purpose of a Philosophy of Teaching Statement?

There can be many purposes. You can think of it as a way of introducing yourself as instructor to your colleagues. You can think of it as an exercise in concisely gathering together your beliefs about teaching and learning so that you can easily articulate them to your students, your peers, and search committees. The Statement can also serve as the cover page to the teaching materials you provide when you are being reviewed for tenure or promotion.

Portfolios have two main uses, both of which involve evaluation.

  • Summative Evaluation: Portfolios can be used to demonstrate the quality of a person's work for hiring and promotion purposes or for purposes of passing a course of study. Portfolios for hiring and tenure are of this type.
  • Formative Evaluation: Portfolios can be used as a means of assembling and examining one's work for the purposes of professional improvement. The portfolio for the Certificate in College and University Teaching is an example of this type of portfolio.

The same portfolio should not be used for both purposes. The summative evaluation judges the outcome of one's work, while formative evaluation seeks to identify areas to be improved and to suggest possible ways to make those improvements. There is risk-taking involved in the latter as it takes a much more vulnerable, critical perspective on one's work.

In general, the Teaching Portfolio is most often used for summative evaluation, that is, for hiring and promotion. As such, it can be described as "a factual description of a professor's [instructor's, or TA's] teaching strengths and accomplishments. It includes documents and materials that collectively suggest the scope and quality of a faculty member's teaching performance. It is to teaching what lists of publications, grants, and honors are to research and scholarship."

"The portfolio is not an exhaustive compilation of all the documents and materials that bear on teaching performance. Instead, it presents selected information on teaching activities and solid evidence of their effectiveness. Just as statements in a curriculum vitae should be supported by convincing evidence (such as published articles or invitations to present a paper at an academic conference), so claims in the teaching portfolio should be supported by firm empirical evidence."

Help in Constructing a Teaching Portfolio

  • Seldin, P. (1997) The Teaching Portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions. Anker Publishing;
  • Quarterly CCUT Portfolio Workshops: Each quarter Instructional Development sends out an email announcement about these workshops to all departments;
  • Questions about the Certificate in College and University Teaching (CCUT) portfolio - and teaching portfolios in general - can also be addressed to Instructional Consultant Dr. Kim McShane

Candidates for the Certificate in College and University Teaching (CCUT) will find access to information about the CCUT requirements, as well as the CCUT Portfolios, in a self-managing resource site in GauchoSpace.  If you would like access to this site, contact an instructional consultant.

Sample portfolios for CCUT candidates.

consultation contacts

George Michaelsexecutive director2130 Kerr Hall
lisa berrysenior instructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
mindy colininstructional consultant1130 Kerr Hall
Mary Lou Ramos database and ESCI administrator1130 Kerr Hall
TBD ESCI assistant1124 Kerr Hall


Laurel Shaddixoffice manager 1130 Kerr Hall
faxfax: 805-893-5915