Building Your Teaching Case for Tenure

One important aspect of your tenure case, at almost every institution, is your teaching. To build your teaching case for tenure, you'll need to do two things: find out what the teaching expectations are for faculty to earn tenure at your institution, and document your teaching, to illustrate that it meets those expectations. You may well wonder how to document the quality of your teaching; after all, you do not "publish" a record of your best teaching. Nonetheless, there are tried-and-true methods for documenting teaching excellence (and it's never too soon to start!). The resources below will introduce you to those methods.

Books and articles

  • Good Teachers Wanted, by Mary Morris Heiberger and Julia Miller Vick. This column, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, explores several kinds of documents you can collect to use as evidence of excellence in teaching. As the authors point out, these are exactly the kinds of items you would include in a teaching portfolio.
  • The Teaching Portfolio, by Peter Seldin, describes the purposes and contents of teaching portfolios, and gives several examples from a wide range of disciplines, include geology. Teaching portfolios are one common means of documenting teaching excellence. If you create a teaching portfolio, you can use it to support your tenure case.
  • Making Teaching and Learning Visible, from Rick Reis' "Tomorrow's Professor" Mailing List. This article describes the uses of a course portfolio. A course portfolio is like a teaching portfolio, but focuses on just one course you teach. You might think of it as a case study of your teaching, allowing you to illustrate how you develop and revise a course over time, based on your goals for the course and your reflections of how well your methods achieve those goals.
  • Items For Inclusion in a Teaching Portfolio, a posting on Rick Reis' "Tomorrow's Professor" Mailing List. This extensive list of items you might include in your portfolio will give you lots of ideas, from which you can select the items most strongly illustrating your teaching strengths.
  • Preparing the Teaching Portfolio, from Rick Reis' "Tomorrow's Professor" Mailing List. This article looks at what it takes to get buy-in for the teaching portfolio from professors and administrators.