When I was preparing my promotion and tenure portfolio in 2010, the resource I used more than any other was the book:
The Academic Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Documenting Teaching, Research, and Service, by Peter Seldin and J. Elizabeth Miller*.
The first half of the book lays out a structure for how to approach documenting one's development in higher education, while the second half contains samples of portfolios from faculty in various disciplines.
While I am not actively working on a portfolio at this time, I have enjoyed continuing to read teaching philosophies that various faculty include on their websites/blogs.
Teaching Philosophy Inspiration
Ryan Cordell's teaching philosophy is inspirational, both in the way he describes his approaches and also from the examples he links to of how his teaching philosophy gets realized.
Jeffrey W. Murray asserts that we should consider non-traditional ways of developing a teaching philosophy, if we find ourselves too constrained by the standard format.
Adam Croom's talk on Openness Without Penalty cautions us to avoid thinking of every possible educational technology as a prescription for effective teaching. He states:
In fact, I would go further and say that not every technology is congruent with every teaching philosophy. As an instructor I’m not a neutral entity; I teach my subjects the way I want to teach them. Similarly, technologies are not neutral as they, too, have biases that have been implicitly or explicitly built into them and their uses.”
Elizabeth (Betsy) Barre takes the courageous route of articulating how love may even enter into our teaching philosophies. She also describes the ultimate benefit of a liberal arts education as she writes:
A truly liberal education, on the other hand, provides students the motivation, information, and tools necessary to “liberate” themselves from the dictates of authoritative truth—academic or otherwise. This means, incidentally, that I am just as concerned about avoiding proselytization as my colleagues. If my teaching philosophy prioritizes any values, they are the values that provide the foundation for intellectual diversity. Thus, the primary goal of normative debate in my classroom is to encourage students to learn how to think for themselves. In the end, they may accept the value of authority and continue to hold the positions they held when they entered the classroom. The hope, however, is that they will have secured better reasons for doing so. Put simply, my central concern is not what my students think, but whether and how they do so.”
Jeffrey Wiese describes in his statement of teaching philosophy how he went through four phases of a teacher, from trying to show medical students how much he knew to when he was able to follow his father's example and become more of a coach (which he describes further on episode #096 of the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast: The Clinical Coach).
Finally, one area of content that I didn't explore in my first academic portfolio that I hope to include in my one for full professor is regarding how my teaching philosophy has been shaped by others who have taught me. Gardner Campbell has modified his recent syllabi by adding a dedication. This is the way he acknowledges those who have been what he calls “a cloud of witnesses” around him in his teaching.
These are the people whose work has shaped me, and who have shaped my work. In the most intimate cases, these are people with whom I’ve broken bread. People with whom I’ve fought, and cried. People who’ve believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, people who’ve encouraged me, people who’ve intervened at key moments. People who are with me as I think and write and teach and learn.
I have always felt that the courses I design and lead, at their best, do not deliver content so much as they mingle souls, as John Donne said letters do.
I know I have missed a plethora of wonderful examples of teaching philosophy statements that faculty have placed online. If you have links to share of other teaching philosophies that have resonated with you, please share them in the comments or via email.
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