Teaching dossiers

For instructors, reflecting and building on teaching experiences is essential, both to enhance the student learning experience and often as part of the tenure and promotion process. This section provides resources to help you evaluate your teaching practices and approaches.

What is a teaching dossier?

The Canadian Association of University Teachers produces a document entitled CAUT Teaching Dossier (PDF), which defines a teaching dossier (or portfolio) as follows:

"A teaching dossier is a summary of an academic's major teaching accomplishments and strengths. It is to an academic's teaching what lists of publications, grants, and academic honours are to research.

"The teaching dossier is intended to provide short statements which describe the scope and quality of the academic's teaching."

A teaching dossier is both a reflective process and a product. It serves to document and improve your teaching practice and demonstrates your accomplishments for the purposes of tenure and promotion.

Who should know about teaching dossiers?

The information on this page is intended for:

  • Instructors preparing for tenure or promotion, or learning for self-improvement
  • Administrators and members of SFU's Tenure and Promotion Committee
  • Graduate students planning for a teaching career


There are a vast number of resources on the topic of teaching dossiers. The references below highlight a few representative works from the field. Information in this section will be updated as new and significant publications become available.

Key literature

Chism, N. V. N. (2007). Peer review of teaching: A sourcebook (2nd ed.). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Co.

  • Chism’s book has a very helpful short chapter on teaching portfolios. A major part of this chapter focuses on how to review teaching portfolios. It provides criteria and a number of review instruments for both formative and summative purposes.

Seldin, P. (2004). The teaching portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Co.

  • This is one of the major publications on teaching dossiers. The book discusses the purpose, process, and product of the teaching portfolio, the use of electronic portfolios, and how to keep portfolios current. It also provides examples of how portfolios are used in seven institutions and presents sample portfolios from across disciplines. (This book is available from the TLC lending library.)

Additional publications

The following are some recent publications that provide additional insights on the rationale and practice of teaching dossiers.

FitzPatrick, M., & Spiller, D. (2010, March). The teaching portfolio: Institutional imperative or teacher’s personal journey? Higher Education Research & Development, 29(2), 167–178. DOI:10.1080/07294360903470985

Klenowski, V., Askew, S., & Carnell, E. (2006, June). Portfolios for learning, assessment and professional development in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31(3), 267–286. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/9317/

Leggett, M., & Bunker, A. (2006, August). Teaching portfolios and university culture. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 30(3), 269–282. DOI:10.1080/03098770600802297

Trevitt, C., & Stocks, C. (2012, March). Signifying authenticity in academic practice: A framework for better understanding and harnessing portfolio assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 37(2), 245–257. DOI:10.1080/02602938.2010.527916