Person working on computer

Lesson 1: Organize and identify your purpose

What is a teaching dossier?

The dossier is a concise summary of philosophy, experiences, approaches, accomplishments, and effectiveness that includes clear evidence of the scope and quality of your teaching practice. As Seldin, Miller, and Seldin (2010) explain, “*portfolios are a step toward a more public, professional view of teaching and reflect teaching as a scholarly activity” (p. 5). *Note, the term portfolio might be used in your context instead of the term dossier.

  • An integrated and reflective summary of your teaching philosophy, approaches, accomplishments, and evidence of effectiveness.
  • Showcase of your fundamental beliefs about teaching and learning - why you hold them and how you translate them into practice.
  • Presented as an organized, integrated, curated, and cohesive document that provides a narrative of your teaching experience.

What key terms do you need to know?

The teaching dossier includes a teaching philosophy statement and expands on the what and how you teach. A dossier is a curated, reflective and aligned document of your teaching experience, evidence, artifacts and goals.

The foundation of your dossier provides insight into your beliefs about ‘why’ you teach the way you do, an introduction to ‘what’ you teach, ‘how’ you teach, and impact on student learning.

The structure that helps guide the development of a teaching dossier.

Illustrating the impact of your teaching through reflection on multiple documents and sources of evidence.

Artefacts that support your teaching effectiveness, (e.g., student assignments, feedback (self, student, peer), course outlines, creative works, etc.).

Why develop a teaching dossier and what is the purpose of a dossier?

Developing a teaching dossier is a commitment of time and energy and may seem like a daunting task. If you approach this task like any other project, research study, article, and/or curriculum development, it is easier to conceptualize in steps using the D O S S I E R model to meet your goal.

With teaching dossiers increasingly becoming an expectation and requirement in higher education, one of the first steps in developing your Teaching Dossier is to determine the purpose your dossier will serve.

What is your purpose for developing a teaching dossier? 

Tenure and/or promotion

Employment application

Teaching awards package

Personal reflection and growth

Your purpose will likely change over time and across your career. Determining the purpose of your dossier will also help you to determine the intended audience, and in some cases, the length and focus of your dossier. If there are requirements posted follow the specifications exactly.

Lesson checklist

  • Discover the role and purpose of the teaching dossier
  • Identify the structure of the teaching dossier by exploring different types of dossiers
  • Recognize the importance of reflection woven throughout your dossier

More lessons

Woman on computer screen

Lesson 2: State your teaching philosophy

People standing in front of books

Lesson 3: Situate your teaching context

Man holding a book

Lesson 4: Identify the components of your dossier