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Is It Time To Revamp Faculty Academic Portfolios?

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Content originally published on data180.com. Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.

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We ran across a topic from 2008 that still has relevance today for higher education.  The discussion centered around the idea that institutions in higher education need to implement new and standardized academic portfolios to evaluate faculty performance.  This was the conclusion reached by Peter Seldin and J. Elizabeth Miller in their book, entitled “The Academic Portfolio:  A Practical Guide to Documenting Teaching, Research and Service.”

Miller and Seldin shared their perspective on the need for standardized academic portfolios in an interview with Inside Higher Ed upon the release of their book. They were concerned that traditional faculty records provide a list of activities and accomplishments, but fail to give proper context for evaluators or create opportunities for meaningful reflection by the faculty member.

“Evaluators do not inherently understand a professor’s teaching philosophy and methodology,” Seldin and Miller stated in the interview, “or the nature of their research/scholarship, the significance of their selected publications, the context of their work, their most noteworthy accomplishments, their role on institutional committees.”

“The best way to get at the individuality and complexity of faculty work is the academic portfolio,” they continued.  And the authors statements supported the notion that structured reflection allows each faculty member to provide context, significance, and integration of teaching, research, and service to provide more clarity on the cohesive body of work.

In preparing “The Academic Portfolio,” Seldin and Miller interviewed more than 200 faculty members, department chairs and deans from various disciplines and institutions and asked for recommendations about the content of faculty portfolios. They used these suggestions to build a comprehensive portfolio template, which can be customized to meet the needs of specific faculty members or departments.

“The Academic Portfolio” presents this comprehensive template, as well as 18 examples of faculty portfolios from different disciplines.

Seldin and Miller believe their portfolio enhances the faculty performance evaluation process by promoting thoughtful review and producing concise documentation.  “It is based on depthful reflection and provides the ‘why’ and the ‘how,’ not just the ‘what,’” they stated.  And instead of submitting boxes filled with binders (which are unlikely to be read), faculty prepare a portfolio which is limited to 19 pages (typed) plus a tabbed appendix in which supportive evidence is housed.”
Seldin and Miller’s full interview in Inside Higher Ed is available here: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/11/11/portfolio

Content originally published on data180.com. Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.