Reconceptualising teaching portfolios for professional development in engineering education
Keywords:teaching portfolios, tenure, promotion, teaching awards, Activity theory
A teaching portfolio is a collection of texts and materials that are intended to represent teaching practice. Many institutions require candidates applying for tenure, ad hominem promotion, or teaching excellence awards to submit a teaching portfolio as part of their application. Building a teaching portfolio engages candidates in reflection on their practice and has been shown to enhance teaching practice. However, less is known about how the socio-cultural contexts of different disciplines and fields shape the representation of candidates’ teaching practice. To address this gap with regard to engineering education, the teaching portfolios of engineering lecturers applying for tenure, promotion, and awards at four different universities were studied, guided by the research question: How does the social context of a teaching portfolio impact the representation of teaching practice? The study found that the social context strongly influenced representations of practice. In the portfolios submitted for tenure or promotion, candidates obscured their teaching practice and instead foregrounded departmental goals or other official documents. In contrast, the award applicants provided detailed, reflective descriptions of their practice. These findings have implications for how engineering educators could be holistically supported towards enhancing their teaching practice, and its representation, in developing portfolios for tenure, promotion or awards.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Christine Winberg
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