the successful completion of the TRC's third annual workshop last May,
approximately 75 faculty and TAs at U.Va. have now developed their own
portfolios. Teaching portfolios afford an opportunity to reflect on
one's teaching in a comprehensive manner, and can act as a powerful tool
for self-analysis. Many of our previous workshop participants have now
utilized their portfolios to re-examine various aspects of their teaching.
Here is a sampling of their comments:
J. Kehoe, Commerce: The Teaching Portfolio Workshop enabled me
to accomplish three objectives. One, to have a reflective experience about
my teaching. Two, to meet, learn from, and share ideas with educators
from across the University who are concerned about teaching effectively.
And, three, to improve my teaching skills as part of a personal program
of continuously improving as an educator. While I consider myself to be
a very good teacher, I want to be an even better teacher, and to have
more of my students say of me that I was their best teacher. The Teaching
Portfolio Workshop enabled me to evaluate my teaching and to develop goals
and strategies for continuous improvement in my teaching.
Doris Greiner, Nursing: The portfolio workshop was exceptionally useful for stimulating me to focus on aspects of my teaching that after many years I was "taking for granted." My constant question over the years has been, "Are students learning?" Preparing the portfolio was an opportunity for me to address carefully the question, "What am I doing as a teacher that facilitates student learning?"
Millner, English: I have some big ideas about what I want to accomplish,
and what I am accomplishing in the classroom. The ten days I spent working
on my Teaching Portfolio--where I had to articulate clearly all my big
claims and then back them up with classroom proof--provided a favorable
environment for reflection on what I am and am not accomplishing in my
teaching. The process gave me the opportunity to think deeply about how
I could bring some of my ideas out of the world of Walter Mitty and into
reality. For someone relatively new to the teaching profession, the portfolio
was a sort of incubator for new assignments, approaches to classroom situations,
and modes of assessment. Working closely with my mentor, listening to
the ideas of others in the workshop, being introduced to the support and
tools the TRC has to offer, as well as thinking and reflecting on my own,
made all of this possible. I also think that the portfolio document I
have produced will continue to serve as a space for and an inducement
to growth as I add to it in the future: it's a project I hope will never
be quite done.
H. Soudek, SEAS: The most important aspect of doing the
teaching portfolio for me was the systematic exchange of ideas with other
people. The experience confirmed vividly for me why I went into college
teaching in the first place. More than a year later, I continue to seek
out others with whom I can talk about teaching. I have also written a
couple of papers that deal with my teaching techniques. There are some
wonderful teachers at U.Va., and it is important for all of us to share
D. Rossetti, Systems Engineering: I developed my teaching
portfolio at the first TRC workshop in June of 1995. The portfolio helped
me to structure my renewal packet information and has helped me to think
more deeply about my goals as an educator both in teaching and in research.
In addition, I have thoroughly enjoyed being a mentor and assisting others
with the use and development of their portfolios.
Stauffer, English: I created my teaching portfolio during the summer
of 1996, and used it as a resource when I went on the job market
in the fall. Not only did I receive a lot of positive reactions to the
document itself, but I found myself much more prepared to discuss my teaching
experiences, strategies, and goals during interviews. I've put my teaching
portfolio on the World Wide Web, and now I can simply refer interested
parties to the Web site, which I update whenever necessary. I would certainly
recommend the Teaching Portfolio Workshop to everyone who is interested
in a career in academia.
If you would like to find out more about teaching portfolios, please contact the TRC. If you are interested in developing your own portfolio, it is not necessary to wait until our next workshop, scheduled for May 1998, to do so. The TRC can put you in touch with a mentor who will guide you through the process. Call 982-2185 or e-mail us at email@example.com for more information.