Teaching Dossiers

Author: Dr. Jennifer Hyndman (Mathematics and Statistics)

One of the first questions in the brown bag session on Teaching Portfolios and Dossiers was

“What is a teaching dossier and when do I use it?”

The short answer to the first part of this question is that a teaching dossier is a snapshot of who you are as a teacher at the time you create the dossier. As you progress through your teaching career your dossier should evolve and grow with you. Items that you might put in your dossier include a statement on your philosophy of teaching, a list of all courses you have taught or created, sample course comments, sample course evaluations, course outlines, samples of other course material, peer reviews, information on teaching research, teaching seminars attended or taught, etc.

Information to help you create a teaching dossier is available from many sources. A good link to follow is to the Teaching Perspectives Inventory.

http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/

This site has a quiz that helps you focus on your attributes and values as a teacher. Writing a statement of teaching philosophy is easier after you have thought about the questions asked in the quiz. Your statement of teaching philosophy should be one or two pages and allow a reader to learn something about you.

As to the question of when is a teaching dossier used, it is probably most true that you only use parts of it at any one time. Your annual report will include the part of your teaching dossier that is relevant to the year. A job application might include your statement of teaching philosophy, your list of courses taught, summaries of course evaluations and one or two other highlights of your teaching career. A hiring committee member looking at 50 or 200 applications wants a clear, organized and short job application.

As you progress through your career you will want more fully developed dossiers. One version of your teaching dossier will be part of your tenure or promotion application. The Faculty Association office keeps copies of successful tenure and promotion applications that may be viewed by other Faculty Association members. Another use for a teaching dossier occurs when you are nominated for a teaching award. The material submitted will depend on the award and may range from one page to 75 pages. The Executive Assistant to the Vice President (Academic) and Provost keeps copies of the 3M Teaching Fellowship nominations in her office. These copies are available for viewing.

Whatever you do, ask the question: who am I as a teacher. You will need to know.

A list of items that could be put in a teaching dossier:

  • Table of contents.
  • Statement of Philosophy
  • Course Information
  • Course outlines
  • Innovative course delivery
  • Course development
  • Course evaluations
  • Sample course materials
  • Letters
  • Peer evaluations
  • Student letters
  • Evidence of Educational Leadership
  • Teaching presentations
  • Workshops attended
  • Publications on teaching
  • Board memberships

Resources:

There are many excellent resources available to help you both write a Teaching Philosophy Statement and to help you create a Teaching Dossier.

The Chronicle of Higher Education provides a very readable article by Gabriela Montell on How to Write a Statement of Philosopy:

http://chronicle.com/article/How-to-Write-a-Statement-of/45133/

A more formal presentation is found at the University of Toronto site:

http://www.teaching.utoronto.ca/topics/documenting-teaching/s-t-p.htm

Teaching Support Services at the University of Guelph provides information for a university context where a teaching dossier is required for the promotion and tenure process:

http://www.tss.uoguelph.ca/resources/idres/packagetd.html

The Council of 3M National Teaching Fellows has an online journal devoted to Positive Pedagogy.  It includes resources for developing a Teaching Dossier:

http://3mcouncil.stlhe.ca/events-initiatives/initiatives/positive-pedagogy/

The Centre for Teaching and Learning at McMaster University has a detailed guide to preparing a dossier:

http://cll.mcmaster.ca/resources/pdf/DossierPackage_Web.pdf

The University of Victoria‘s guide to teaching dossiers is very detailed – it includes instructions on how to collect the data you will need. Get your file folders ready! http://www.ltc.uvic.ca/servicesprograms/teachingdossiers.php

This University of Manitoba site is short but gets to the point of what you might want in your dossier. http://www.umanitoba.ca/academic_support/uts/resources/82.html