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Graduate Student Teaching Dossier

Suggested Framework

There are two main sections of a teaching dossier at the graduate student level. They are: an individualized personal expression of your commitment to your role as a teacher, and a presentation of the nature and variety of your teaching practice experience.

  1. Personal Commitment to Teaching Excellence

This section of the dossier focuses on your understanding of your role as teacher. It should illustrate the depth of your thinking about your teaching if you have had that experience as a course instructor or as a teaching assistant. If not, then it should give some insights on how you conceptualize what that role will involve.

1. Teaching Philosophy

Depending on your experience, this is a short statement, up to one page, of your deep beliefs about teaching and learning. It is NOT a description of your teaching strategies; it is a statement of your beliefs about the responsibilities of teaching, of the nature of teacher-student relationships, about the goals of education.

2. Teaching Strategies

This is a description of the types of strategies you have used in your teaching, whether as an instructor or as a teaching assistant, to support students in the achievement of the goals of the course, e.g. group-work, experiential learning, one-on-one or small group tutoring, lab activities, etc. You might also include your methods of assessing whether students have understood the concepts you were teaching. You might explain why these teaching and assessment methods are useful and how they integrate with your philosophy of teaching and learning.

3. Professional Development in the Practice of Teaching

a. Courses taken in teaching, either credit or non-credit; certificates earned, e.g. Graduate Program in Teaching (GPT) or Teaching Opportunities for Graduate Assistants (TOGA) or specific courses through the Faculty of Education.

b. Participation in workshops and seminars on teaching, e.g. the workshop series offered through the Instructional Development Office or through your department.

c. Participation in conferences on teaching, e.g. Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education; Association of Atlantic Universities Teaching Showcase, enrolment in institutes on teaching

d. Current teaching literature you are reading, e.g. subscriptions to teaching publications; books on teaching in your discipline, etc.

  1. Teaching Practice

In this section, you present the hard evidence of your teaching activities and demonstrate your competence. It should contain many artifacts of teaching. While much of the material will be simply expository, it is also the section in which to demonstrate your attempts to be an effective teacher at whatever level you were assigned.

a. Courses Taught or Supported as a Teaching Assistant

List the courses in reverse chronological order by semester, year. Include student enrollment. Include all post-secondary institutions.

b. New Courses Developed or Assisted in Developing

List any courses you may have had the opportunity to conceptualize, revise, and develop. You may have done this type of work as a teaching assistant, assisting a faculty supervisor.

c. Course or Lab Outlines

If you have been solely responsible for a course or a set of labs, include samples of your course or lab outlines. These can simply be the handouts you give to students on the first day of classes or labs or they could be fuller versions that you use for the actual teaching. If you have assisted in the delivery of departmentally-set labs, then describe the role you played in their delivery.

d. Methods of Student Assessment

Provide samples of each type of assessment that you have developed. Explain the purpose of the assessment. This is also a good place to provide some samples of good student work that resulted from the assessments. Ask students’ permission to include their work in your dossier.

If you spend a large amount of effort in giving quality feedback to students on their written work, you might also want to include a copy of a paper with your commentary still attached. If the student did a re-write or showed marked improvement because of your efforts, you might wish to provide samples of a ‘before’ and ‘after’ version. Again, ask the student’s permission.

e. Course Evaluations

i.Course Evaluation Questionnaire

If you have acted as a course instructor, list all of the course evaluation (CEQ) ratings that you have accumulated. Summarize your results on Question 8 (the global question), add columns for your department’s or divisional ratings, faculty ratings (if available) and MUN overall. These statistics can be found in the package sent to you by the Center for Institutional Analysis and Planning (CIAP). It is usual to go back about five years, if you have that data.

If you are a TA for a course, ask the course instructor to include an extra question, as provided for on the CEQ, and ask students whether the teaching assistance provided in the course was helpful to their learning. If there is more than one teaching assistant in a course, the question may need to be more specific. When the CEQ analysis information is returned to the course instructor, ask him/her to convey the results of the student responses on that question to you. Include the ratings as part of the data you provide.

ii.Personal Requests for Student Feedback

If you have developed your own feedback questionnaire, either for all of a course or for feedback on particular aspects of a course, you can include the instrument you used and give a summary of the results.

iii. Sets of student comments

If you have official CEQ data because you have acted as a course instructor, submit one complete set of comments from the CEQ forms. These should be typed verbatim using a bulleted symbol to indicate change of student voice. Ideally, these sets of comments should be typed and verified by someone other than you. Include a statement from that independent person on the end of the list of comments, indicating that this is a complete set of unedited comments. Have that person sign and date the statement.

f. Teaching Awards

If you have won awards for your teaching, for example, the Graduate Student Union Graduate Student Teaching Award, or been honored by students, your department or your institution for your teaching, then in reverse chronological order list the awards, the criteria for selection and the year the award was given.

g. Feedback

i. Unsolicited feedback from students

If you have received cards, notes, e-mails, letters from students that thank you for your teaching influence then you could include a sampling of these tributes. A suggested method of presentation is to copy the text and then make a collage of comments on a single page or two.

ii.Solicited and unsolicited feedback from colleagues

If you have received grateful comments from a faculty or staff person or another graduate student thanking you for your assistance or commenting on the effectiveness of your teaching or your helpfulness to the delivery of a course these could be included here.

h. Teaching Leadership

If you have participated on any departmental committees related to teaching and learning, or contributed to any research in which teaching was examined from a critical perspective, or written any articles (however short or informal) about teaching and learning in your discipline, or presented at a conference about teaching in your discipline, or assisted in the delivery of any workshops about teaching (as you may have in a TOGA 3 position), or held memberships in any professional associations of teaching, then list these activities here.

If you are involved in community outreach work which involves teaching the public about issues in your area, e.g. raising awareness of good nutrition or preserving the environment, or if you are offering courses free of charge to those seeking a particular professional qualification, then mention it here.

Developed by M. Dunne and A. Hajek, Instructional Development Office, Memorial University of Newfoundland . Tel. 709-864-3028. E-mail mdunne@mun.ca or a hajek@mun.ca

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