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Developing a Teaching Dossier

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For both new and experienced faculty, developing a teaching dossier is essential to your professional development as an instructor in higher education. In addition to the practical aspect of maintaining a comprehensive account of your teaching career, a teaching dossier also allows you to reflect on your personal growth as a teacher and articulate a theory of practice.

[edit] What is a teaching dossier?

A teaching dossier is an on-going collection of evidence about:

  1. teaching activities and their effectiveness (What do I do and how well do I do it?)
  2. faculty development (How am I developing as an instructor?)
  3. one’s theory of practice (Why do I do what I do?)

[edit] Why have one?

  • teaching award nominations
  • leave fellowships
  • teaching development grants
  • merit competitions
  • job applications/transfers
  • tenure and promotion submissions

[edit] What a dossier demonstrates:

  • clear commitment to teaching
  • accessibility to and rapport with students
  • expertise in communicating the subject matter, appropriate use of techniques
  • demonstrated innovation in teaching and willingness to take improvement risks
  • objectivity and skill in handling tough teaching assignments/situations

(1) Evidence of teaching activities and their effectiveness can include:

  • course outlines
  • copies of assignments and tests
  • records of graduate student supervision
  • graduate student committees served on
  • records of being an external examiner for theses and dissertations
  • formative student evaluations
  • responses to formative evaluations (what was changed)
  • anecdotal student comments, letters, journals
  • summative student evaluations
  • commentary on summative student evaluations
  • peer review or comment on course materials
  • summaries of peer observations on teaching
  • reviews from professional associations, employers, business

letters or comments from former students

  • documentation of involvement in curriculum or program development

(2) Faculty development activities can include

  • attending faculty development workshops
  • participation in a peer consultation program
  • attending or giving papers at a conference on teaching
  • conducting action research on one’s teaching
  • working normally with a colleague to implement innovative strategies
  • introducing technological or other new ideas into a course
  • serving on an instructional development committee
  • applying for grants to introduce new ideas into a course or program
  • serving on committees related to teaching
  • subscribing to educational journals
  • membership in associations such as STLHE (the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

(3) A statement of theory of practice can include responses to questions such as

  • what are the goals of higher education?
  • what are my goals as a teacher in higher education?
  • what are my basic values and assumptions about teaching?
  • how do I describe my role as an educator?
  • how do I see the roles of students?
  • what constraints and obstacles do I face as an educator?
  • why do I do what I do?

The essay: Developing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement by Nancy Van Note Chism, Ohio State University provides a detailed look at preparing a statement of “theory of practice” or “philosophy of teaching” to be included in your teaching dossier.

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