Toolkit Home Introduction Unit 1: Planning for Promotion & Tenure Unit 2: Creating a Strong Portfolio Portfolio Examples References & Resources

Unit 2: Creating a Strong Portfolio

Section 2.3: The Teaching Portfolio: Documenting Community-Engaged Teaching


"The only way I see changing the old guard is by educating them. And how do we educate them? We have to educate them by putting together good portfolios."
Associate Professor

"Cross reference your research and teaching-show where they are integrated."
Associate Professor

Increasingly, health professions institutions are requiring faculty to include an educator's or teaching portfolio with their overall faculty promotion and tenure portfolio. When reviewing your institution's promotion and tenure guidelines, there will likely be an extensive section that lists what is expected for documenting excellence in teaching. This development in the promotion and tenure guidelines followed, in large measure, Boyer's landmark book, Scholarship Reconsidered. The book cited the important need for universities to broaden the definition of scholarship to include the scholarship of teaching.

The section below on the Educator's or Teaching Portfolio provides an overview of the extensive work that has already been done to show how the scholarship of teaching can be documented. We encourage you to obtain and use these resources and references in developing your teaching portfolio. Even if your institution does not require a teaching portfolio, this section may provide you with useful information for organizing your teaching materials.

The section below on Tips & Strategies for Documenting Community-Engaged Teaching provides resources, tips and strategies from the Scholarship Project faculty which highlights how community-engaged teaching can be integrated into the scholarship of teaching framework.

Depending on your discipline and your institution, you might use the term service-learning, community-based education, practice-based teaching, experiential or active learning, internships, practicum, etc. We use the term "community-engaged teaching" simply to parallel the term community-engaged scholarship. We recommend using the terminology that will be most familiar to your promotion & tenure committee.

The Educator's or Teaching Portfolio

Your institution's promotion and tenure guidelines will provide you with the areas that the committee will be reviewing for teaching excellence. In addition to these guidelines, many institutions are also providing faculty with a descriptive list for what to include in one's teaching portfolio. An educator's or teaching portfolio is "a system of documentation developed to present faculty's expertise as educators and scholars"

Below, we present the core elements of the educator's or teaching portfolio, and then focus specifically on how to integrate community-engaged teaching and educational scholarship into this section of your documentation. As always, it is important to follow the promotion and tenure guidelines your institution has developed for teaching portfolios and then the more specific guidelines for what to include in the portfolio itself.

Medical College of Wisconsin: 10 Categories of the Educator's Portfolio

There are now many useful resources of the core components of the teaching portfolio. At the Medical College of Wisconsin, Simpson and her colleagues have developed 10 categories for one's teaching and educational scholarship. These categories are listed below:

The educator's portfolio is a system of documentation developed to present faculty's expertise as educators and scholars. Within 10 categories, the faculty member provides CV-type listings of education activities and examples of work. This listing serves as a promotion document and is a tool for career reflection.

  1. Philosophy of Education: Personal theory of learning and teaching
  2. Curriculum Development: Design, development and evaluation of curricula/programs
  3. Teaching Skills: Documentation of teaching by target audience, year and topic
  4. Learner Assessment: Construction and implementation of examinations/methods of assessment
  5. Adviser: Lists of formal and informal advisees
  6. Educational Administration: Leadership and management in education
  7. Educational Scholarship: Leadership and management in education
  8. Continuing Education: Evidence of growing knowledge and skills as an educator
  9. Honors and Awards: Recognition by peers and students
  10. Long Term Goals: Reflection on portfolio and future plans

Citation: Department of Family and Community Medicine (DF&CM) by Simpson et al at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Click here for more references & resources on the educator's or teaching portfolio.

Documenting Community-Engaged Teaching

Each institution varies with how they have written guidelines for what demonstrates excellence in teaching. Although most guidelines for teaching do not specifically cite ways to document community-engaged teaching, there are examples of those that do. These include:

California State University
Colorado State University 
Northern Michigan University
Other Examples from the Campus Compact Advanced Service-Learning Toolkit

The University of Utah has developed a set of guidelines for teaching excellence in service-learning, below:

Teaching Excellence in P&T Guidelines That Reflect Excellence in Service-Learning

  • The service-learning contributions relate to the faculty member'sarea of scholarship.
  • The faculty member's service-learning contributions are responsive to a recognized need of individuals, organizations or other entities o campus and/or in the community and have significant and lasting impact.
  • Service-learning interactions are carried out in partnership withthe community being served.
  • The faculty member demonstrates that his/her students haveprovided a needed service to members of the community at large,rather than an exclusionary group.
  • The service-learning methodology used provides a way for studentsto process and synthesize the impact of service-learning experienceson their understanding of the subject matter of the class.
  • The faculty member demonstrates that he/she has broadened studentsunderstanding of civic involvement, even though students may alsofocus on career preparation.
  • The faculty member acts as role model for students and otherfaculty, especially in developing the student's understanding of theimportance of community involvement.

Prepared by the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center at the University of Utah in conjunction with Faculty Friends, 1993-1996 (adapted).

Within the framework of the educator's or teaching portfolio, there are a number of important ways that you can integrate and highlight community-engaged teaching. The Teaching Statement or Philosophy of Education is the foundation for your teaching portfolio. This 2-3 page statement provides you with an opportunity to provide your promotion & tenure committee with a framework for what draws you to teaching through an explicit statement of your goals and an integration of your personal background experiences, training and readings and reflection.

East Carolina University School of Medicine uses the following framework for the teaching statement:

  • State explicitly the educational goals of your career
  • Integrate personal background experiences, training, reading and reflection

It may include:

  • Learning theory
  • Goals of instruction
  • Roles and responsibilities of the learner
  • Role of the teacher
  • Description of the variables which promote learning

Within the teaching statement, you can highlight community-engaged teaching.

Tips & Strategies for Documenting Community-Engaged Teaching

Tips & Strategies for Documenting Community-Engaged Teaching in a Teaching Statement

  • Integrate literature on the philosophy and outcomes of community-engaged teaching. A helpful summary of the literature on service-learning is provided here.
  • Integrate how your involvement in community engaged teaching relates to your disciplinary content area and/or your research. You may also want to refer to how your work is integrated in your career statement.
  • Highlight any leadership roles you have that relate to community-engaged teaching. See the toolkit's CV section for suggestions on highlighting these roles.
  • Highlight grants that you have received (both institutional and external funding) to develop courses involving a community components. See the toolkit's CV section for suggestions on where to highlight these grants.
  • Highlight teaching awards. Highlight nominations for teaching awards. The nomination is an award in and of itself.
  • Describe a new or revised class that involves the community as a teaching innovation.
  • Cite publications and presentations on innovative community-based education from courses.
  • Describe presentations on community-engaged teaching.
  • Include excerpts from student reflection journals (with student permission) that detail what students have learned.
  • Include excerpts of letters from community partners describing how the service-learning projects have impacted the community.

Tips & Strategies for Documenting Community-Engaged Teaching in Your Overall Portfolio

After developing the teaching statement as the philosophical foundation for your teaching portfolio, you can document your teaching activity and scholarship in other sections of your portfolio. As with each section of the portfolio, the more organized you are in its presentation, the better. Experienced promotion & tenure committee members and academic leaders have indicated that a well-organized portfolio plays in important role in its outcome. Many of the documents will be routine ones that the university has been collecting and organizing, such as standard end-of-course learner evaluations. In other areas, you may have some latitude in highlighting community-engaged teaching. Here are some tips you may want to consider:

  • Create a summary page in your course syllabi materials that ties how and why you developed your courses back to your teaching statement.
  • Solicit evaluations and letters of support from former students. Ask them to send letters directly to your department chair or other appropriate person.
  • Involve peers to evaluate your teaching and ask them to assess the components that involve student partnerships with communities.
  • Solicit letters from community partners who have been involved in your courses.
  • Bold or point to student end-of course summaries that highlight excellence in your teaching.

Please click here for examples of faculty members' teaching statement.