Preparing your teaching dossier

Whether you're preparing a teaching dossier from scratch or updating an existing one, it is probably easiest to work with raw materials (course outlines, results of student ratings, letters from students, copies of innovative materials, etc.) that have been collected in file folders, one for each academic year. Much of this information will only be summarized, rather than used in its entirety in the dossier, though it is useful to keep it for consultation, if required, by your P & T committee. The files of your department chair can help in reconstructing what you taught in what years in the past!

In the two-column document below, the content specifications for UWO teaching dossiers, as approved by Senate in June, 1996, are listed first, and some suggestions to help prepare the corresponding items in your dossier are given in the right-hand column.

CONTENT AREA AND SPECIFICATIONS SUGGESTIONS
Teaching Responsibilities
  • List of all courses or segments of courses taught in the past 7 years (or since initial appointment), plus a description of your role therein and the level of assistance provided by your department or faculty. (In the case of promotion, the dossier should cover the period since the last promotion.)
    (Required)
It's probably most efficient to list each course with the years you've taught it (in the last 7); also it's useful to list the number of students alongside. The possible "roles" include lecturer; coordinator if course is multi-section or multi-instructor; clinical supervisor or instructor; lab supervisor, etc. For "level of assistance", state the extent of TA assistance (marking of assignments, essays, tests; demonstrating of labs; tutoring in tutorials; guest lecturing, etc.)
  • Course outlines (maximum length 5 pages each) for all courses taught in the past 2 years
    (Required)

  • List of all students supervised, including graduate and undergraduate theses, independent study, and practicum supervision
    (Required)

List each student; the year(s) supervised and/or year of graduation and the topics or thesis titles can also be included.

 

  • List of academic advising duties for past 5 years
    (Optional)

List here any recent stints you've done as an academic counsellor or undergraduate, graduate or program chair.

 

Teaching Philosophy
  • A succinct, clearly reasoned statement of your personal beliefs about teaching and how these have influenced your choice of teaching methods, i.e., an explanation of why you do what you do...maximum length 1/2 page
    (Recommended)
(See separate discussion and examples below)
Teaching Innovations
  • Description of novel teaching methods or curriculum materials that you have developed, including textbooks, lab manuals, assignments, computer software, and materials for courses in mediated learning modes...maximum length 1 page
    (Recommended)
Mention any materials you've developed, including both text materials you've had commercially published and ones produced "in house" for sale or distribution to students. Materials could be texts or part-texts; lab manuals; new assignments; computer software produced for use by students; audio or video tapes on campus or in mediated-learning modes, etc.
  • Contributions you have made to development of new courses or revision of existing courses
    (Optional)

(See dossier Examples II and III for ideas)

 

 

  • Evidence of impact or effectiveness of above innovations...for example, data from program evaluation studies or letters of support from colleagues, students, or curriculum experts
    (Optional)

Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness
Classroom Teaching
  • Graphical or tabular summary of formal student ratings for all questions related to teaching effectiveness for all courses taught at UWO, or all courses taught in the last 7 years, whichever is less...maximum length 3 pages
    (Required)
Include a summary of the average for questions 1 to 14 from the university teaching evaluation forms. See dossier Example II for a succinct way to construct a table of the required data.  The average of your ratings for each year and/or for each course could also be displayed.  If the rating information is displayed graphically (e.g., as plots of rating vs. time), make sure the axes are labelled and easy to read.
  • Letters from students, parents, former students, or employers of former students...letters should be designated as solicited, or unsolicited, and if solicited, the letter of solicitation should be included. (Inclusion of solicited letters is required. Inclusion of unsolicited letters is optional.)
Unsolicited letters commenting on your teaching from students (past and present), their parents, etc. can be abstracted or included in an Appendix, as appropriate. If you or your department solicits letters about your teaching, all replies must be included along with a copy of the letter of solicitation. (An example of the solicitation letter is shown at the end of this document.) If numerous replies are received, they should be placed in an Appendix, with only a list of respondents given in the dossier itself.
  • Colleague evaluations based on direct observation of classroom teaching ...maximum length 2 pages (total)... colleague observers should be selected by mutual consent of the faculty member and the Chair or Dean
    (Recommended)
The observer chosen should be an experienced professor from your department or faculty who is known to be an above-average instructor. He/she will presumably comment both upon the content taught and the teaching method(s) used in the class(es) observed. Observers from other UWO departments can be useful in evaluating methods and delivery style, but not content. (A "checklist for observers" is given at the conclusion of this Guide.)
  • Objective indicators of amount learned by students...for example, mean student performance on a committee-graded or objectively scored final examination in a multi-section course
    (Optional)
This information is hard to come by unless your students eventually take a professional exam partly based upon your material, or there are several sections of the course with all exams graded (blindly) by a marking committee or by a computer. If this multi-section information is available, you could in tabular form compare the average grade of your students to those of other sections or to the average for the latter. Evidence concerning the incoming grades/abilities of students in different sections would support multi-section comparisons.
  • Evidence of student success attributable, in part, to your teaching...for example, awards, acceptance for advanced study
    (Optional)

Course Content & Course Management
  • Colleague evaluations based on analysis of course documents and materials such as course outlines, assignments, and sample graded essays or exams... maximum length 2 pages (total)... colleague evaluators should be selected by mutual consent of faculty member and Chair or Dean
    (Recommended)

Colleagues here are other UWO faculty members, usually from your own department

 

 

 

 

  • Formal student ratings of course (as opposed to instructor) quality or impact
    (Optional)
This category refers to the question about the course as a learning experience on the university-wide student evaluation form.
Student Supervision
  • Letters from former undergraduate or graduate students for whom you served as thesis, research, or practicum supervisor...maximum length 4 pages (total)...letters should be designated as solicited or unsolicited, and if solicited, the letter of solicitation should be included.
    (Inclusion of solicited letters is required.Inclusion of unsolicited letters is optional.)

See comments above on letters concerning classroom teaching.

 

 

 

 

  • Evidence of student success attributable in part to your supervision...for example, awards, appointments, publications, acceptance for advanced study
    (Optional)

Prior Recognition
  • Teaching awards or nominations
    (Optional)

List any awards which you have received or for which have been nominated, with dates.

  • Invitations to teach or contribute curriculum materials to other institutions or departments
    (Optional)

Professional Development
  • Brief description of steps taken to improve your teaching, including workshops and seminars attended, courses completed, and peer consultation.
    (Optional)
List, with dates where available, any activities run by the Teaching Support Centre, or by your unit or your scholarly association, etc. that you have attended, such as "how to teach" courses, workshops/seminars on teaching techniques or curriculum development, etc. List also any "peer consultation" or mentoring you have undertaken to have colleagues provide you with feedback on your teaching through classroom observation, etc.
Educational Leadership
  • Membership on curriculum or educational policy and planning committees
    (Optional)
  • Membership on committees responsible for evaluating or improving teaching
    (Optional)

  • Delivery of formal faculty development programs...for example, running workshops, serving as peer consultant or faculty development specialist
    (Optional)
Research on Teaching
  • Papers published or presented on teaching or curriculum issues, including articles proposing or evaluating new teaching methods or curriculum developments
    (Optional)

Cite any papers published, talks presented (e.g., at professional conferences) or grants obtained in the area of teaching/curriculum development.

 

 

  • Informal, unpublished research on teaching
    (Optional)
Describe briefly any informal, unpublished research you've undertaken on teaching methods or content for your courses.