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Teaching Portfolios

Comments from Past Teaching Portfolio Workshop Participants

From a recent survey, we found that over 97% of the responding faculty and 100% of the responding TAs found it “worthwhile to write a portfolio.” In addition, nearly 100% of teaching portfolio writers would recommend this workshop to their colleagues. Those that hesitate note that its value depends on the participant’s needs and motivation. Workshop ratings range from 4.45-4.75 out of a possible 5. Select comments are shown below; all comments from past participants are listed by year.

What did you learn from the workshop that you did use or will use in your teaching or in your teaching portfolio?

Great self-study/assessment tool. I got a better handle on systematizing my presentation. It also helped me to get things on paper in a fairly objective way. I find it difficult to tout my accomplishments, and the t.p. allowed me to discuss what I have done objectively, without feeling self-conscious. (1995)

I learned to look at my own teaching reflectively and thus became able to put into words what is really important to me as a teacher. The workshop also gave me insight in a variety of other teaching strategies that I plan on using in the future. (1996)

I’m not sure where to begin … the structure and format of a portfolio; specific items to include (quotes from department review documents come to mind). Although I had a clear, general notion of what the portfolio would comprise, I learned the specifics in the workshop. (1996)

I learned of common teaching problems and a few innovative ways to try to overcome them. I also learned how important it is to explain to students just what your approach and goals are. (1997)

I learned to put the pieces together to see the big picture of my teaching. This was so useful. It also helps me to set goals for the future. (1997)

I learned about myself; tacit understandings and some misconceptions were laid out before me. Strategies for documentation and for presenting myself were revealed. I have a better understanding of how to “play to my strengths” in the classroom. (1998)

It really helped me to formulate my teaching and break it down into components of what is important and what I think is important about teaching. I have already used things I have put together in my portfolio. (1999)

My main profit was from the encouragement and endorsement of things I had tried tentatively, and might have otherwise abandoned. (2000)

Useful info on student evals, how to discuss them and how to fit them into the formative process I am undergoing with my teaching. (2000)

Teaching: a number of methods for being clearer in my expectations of students (i.e. making the process of assignments/ courses more evident). Teaching Portfolio. : I had no idea what went into a Teaching Portfolio prior to the workshop, so everything! Overall: The workshop has inspired me to think about my job in a more coherent way and to think of practical ways both of integrating teaching and research and aims for different courses. (2001)

To set a specific teaching objective for my course is very important before I even start to teach. (I’ve never thought about “why do I teach” before writing this teaching portfolio.) (2003)

I’ll never throw anything away again. Ever. I couldn’t have even put a portfolio together on my own-looking at examples in the TRC was helpful. (2003)

I learned what I really believe about teaching and what makes it effective. I also realized my strengths in teaching and what I can do in the future to keep improving. This workshop helped me to first realize what I believe and then how to articulate that into a narrative. (2005)

I learned what additional documentation I should be collecting in the future.  I also learned to view my teaching from more of a student perspective so as to measure more student outcomes and hold myself responsible for producing real change and making the course a worthwhile use of their time (not just getting through the semester). (2007)

I learned that taking the time to gather results, and then assess them, can greatly reinforce, or re-direct, my teaching goals.  I uncovered ways that I am already teaching that I hadn’t reflected on before. (2007)


Would you recommend this workshop to your colleagues? Why or why not?

I’d definitely recommend it to others because the interaction with others and self-reflection is valuable. I have a better picture of who I am as a teacher, and now I also have it all in one place to be able to show. I really liked getting feedback about my draft. It’s rare to get feedback like that. (1995)

Yes–very helpful for formalizing process, making it happen; would recommend it as early as possible in the career. (1995)

Absolutely! I had heard of Teaching Portfolios in theory, but this workshop made it real. The first session was informative and inspiring – the last day taught me what changes I want to make! And my mentor was thoughtful and very supportive. (1996)

Yes, yes, yes. Spending quality time reflecting on your teaching and personal goals is invaluable. Also the exchange of ideas and experiences was both a pleasure and a necessary dialogue. (1996)

Yes. Excellent opportunity for senior colleagues to reflect upon their teaching, identify goals, rethink classroom strategies, refresh one’s teaching. For junior faculty, good solid way to document teaching effectiveness, give weight to it; good way to identify weaknesses and get help. (1997)

Yes. Well done–first class production of materials, resources. Good environment (fed us–thanks)–Monroe Hall and the Lawn! Especially liked the mix of humanities, science, social science, engineering nursing, etc. (1997)

Yes. If someone is serious about his/her teaching and is committed to the level of work and attention the workshop requires, I would absolutely recommend it. Creating a portfolio is so daunting that I don’t know if I would have pursued it on my own. Hearing others’ ideas was also very interesting and helped focus my writing. (1999)

Yes. I already have—I think everyone should package a way to celebrate their teaching and show their department or prospective employers how valuable they are as a teacher. (2000)

Yes. I found the exercise of thinking about my teaching making myself self-conscious of my teaching practices – a very useful tool for self clarification, self-improvement. And it was fun, too, fun to talk about pedagogy with a lively group of engaged, dedicated teachers from all over grounds. (2000)

Yes, I anticipate that this will be an important tool for the job market, both as a document and a reflective experience and it’s useful to have coaching, deadlines and other readers to help with the process. (2001)

Yes. The process of reflection alone is worth the seminar experience. (2003)

I came in a little skeptical about what I would really get out of the workshop, but it was excellent. I didn’t realize how much self-reflection on my own teaching these would be. Also very helpful in organizing your ideas and thoughts. (2005)

Yes!! This is very important work we do-teaching. And I think all faculty should reflect on why they do what they do in their teaching, and why. I also think that in the age of high-stakes testing and accountability, we need to be able to demonstrate our effectiveness and show through the time we spend on being and becoming effective that we truly value teaching. (2005)

Yes, definitely, for all the reasons above (what I learned, how presenters were effective).  It’s more than external motivation to get the job done—it’s creating a community of peers in which to reflect upon teaching. (2007)

ABSOLUTELY.  It will change your way of thinking about teaching: It will improve it and provide you with a lasting framework from which to work and teach in the future. (2007)