Summers often have not been the ideal time to hold faculty development seminars.

Tyson Deangelis shows his electronic portfolio to other faculty members during a recent Teaching Portfolio Informational Seminar.
Many of the nine-month faculty are on vacation. Other professors are traveling and engaged in research related to their disciplines.

“But recently we’ve had many faculty say, ‘Why don’t you do something in the summer?’” says Claire Peel, associate provost for Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs. “We decided we would attempt a teaching portfolio seminar this summer and see what the response was.”

The result? Almost 60 faculty members signed up to attend the Teaching Portfolio Informational Seminar June 24. Many of those faculty members also will participate in the four-week, portfolio-building workshop that begins July 8.

The purpose for the workshop is to give faculty a way to consider and document everything from the statement of their teaching philosophy to their teaching responsibilities and feedback from students. It’s an evidence-based portfolio that combines reflection and documentation.

Upcoming programs

A number of faculty development programs are scheduled for the  2009-10 academic year. Visit for more information
• New Faculty Orientation
• Tenure and Promotion Theatre Presentation
• BLAZE: A program for emerging leaders on campus
• Crucial Conversations
• Excellence in Teaching
• Library and Faculty Development Sponsored Seminars
• New Chair Seminars
• Scholarship of Teaching Seminars
• Service Learning Workshops
• Teaching with Technology Workshops
“Much of the intellectual work that goes into planning, preparing for and teaching a course sometimes is invisible,” says Nancy Abney, program manager for the Professional Development Program. “One of the overall purposes of the teaching portfolio is to make that work and preparation public — just as faculty publish research — so that others can both evaluate it and learn from it.”
Peel says she sees two more advantages to creating a portfolio.

“A portfolio really gives you an opportunity to reflect on your teaching practices, challenges and successes,” Peel says.

It also provides faculty a vehicle to organize their materials effectively so they can adequately present themselves and their accomplishments as they pursue promotion and tenure.

“It certainly helps from the reviewer perspective when you have a well put-together section that demonstrates that you are an effective teacher and that you can reflect on what you’re doing and make adjustments as needed to show growth and development,” Peel says.

Benefits more faculty
Portfolio workshops have been offered each of the past few years by Faculty Development. UAB has invited experts in years past to demonstrate how to construct portfolios.

That training has enabled UAB faculty to assume the management of this summer’s program. Julia Austin, Ph.D., director of Education Services for the Graduate School, and Abney are facilitators for the program.

“Peter Seldin, a national expert on teaching portfolios, came in for a couple of years, and we worked with Peter to train our own folks to carry on this program,” Peel says. “One of the missions of our office is to help faculty grow as teachers, researchers and leaders. This is a nice model, and it benefits more faculty by training and developing our own folks to be mentors.

“We’re fortunate that even in these tight budgetary times we’ve really maximized our budget by using our local talent like Julia and Nancy to provide outstanding programming,” she says. 

Faculty who participate will have the opportunity to learn from others who have compiled their portfolios. Each participant is assigned a mentor who can give them one-on-one feedback and guidance.

“There is a commitment that faculty participating in the workshop have to make because there is work involved,” Austin says. “But it’s good work. They produce something that sets a foundation for continuing their growth as a teacher.”

The Teaching Portfolio Workshop may be offered again in the future, depending on the need for it. 

Faculty members always are encouraged to provide feedback and ideas for educational programming. Visit to learn more.