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Innovative Higher Education, Vol. 26, No.

1, Fall 2001 ( c 2001)

The Faculty Development Portfolio: A Framework for Documenting the Professional Development of Faculty Developers
Christine A. Stanley

ABSTRACT: Portfolios are used for a variety of purposes in higher education. Two such purposes are the documentation of one’s professional development for others and the improvement of one’s own performance over time. This article discusses the concept of the faculty development portfolio and, in doing so, outlines the work of faculty development professionals. It also identifies characteristics of effective faculty development professionals and defines the steps involved in creating a faculty development portfolio. These steps include how to conceptualize, gather, and present evidence of items that can be used as a framework for faculty developers to consider when documenting their professional development for summative and formative purposes. KEY WORDS: portfolios; faculty development; professional development.

The research on the use of portfolios in higher education shows clearly that these documents are useful for a number of purposes. They are often used to guide the teaching–learning process, to provide a tool for school-wide improvement and reform efforts, and to give direction and meaning for the professional development of teachers and administrators (Arter & Spandel, 1992; Berhnardt, 1994; Daresh & Playko, 1995). The use of portfolios for the professional development of faculty, particularly in higher education, and to document teaching for promotion and tenure has gained nationwide attention from administrators, educational associations, educational researchers, faculty development professionals, and others (Brogan, 1995; Buell, 1991; Edgerton, Hutchings, & Quinlan, 1991; Eison, 1993; Knapper, 1995; Millis, 1991; Seldin, 1991; Seldin, 1993; Seldin & Annis, 1990). While faculty development professionals have for sometime now encouraged
Christine A. Stanley is Assistant Professor of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development and Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A & M University. She is also President of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education (2000–2001). She received her B.Sc. degree from Prairie View A & M University and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Texas A & M University. Her special interests are teaching development, multiculturalism and diversity in faculty development, and the recruitment and mentoring of new faculty developers.



2001 Human Sciences Press, Inc.



and supported department chairpersons, academic administrators, and faculty in the preparation of teaching and course portfolios to document teaching performance, there is very little research documenting the professional development of faculty developers themselves (Wright & Miller, 2000). Faculty development is an emerging field in higher education. As institutions seek to enhance teaching and learning, more are paying particular attention to the instructional support needs of faculty and the future professoriate. One only needs to look at recent job postings for faculty development positions to get a sense of the urgency to hire professionals who have the expertise to work with faculty on teaching and learning issues in higher education. The educational development community is now attempting to define educational development practice, to establish common qualifications, and to describe the nature of educational development work (Wright & Miller, 2000). In many job postings, faculty developers are being held accountable for evidence of their expertise in faculty development. One effective way of providing this evidence is a faculty development portfolio. Institutions such as The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan now use this documentation for both summative and formative purposes. Thus, these documents can be used in the hiring process of faculty developers to get a sense of their experience in the field and later as a part of their annual performance review.

Background Despite informal discussions among members of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education, the North American organization of faculty development professionals in higher education, on how faculty developers are trained and recruited to the field, there is very little research that carefully examines the professional development documentation of faculty developers (Porter, Lewis, Kristensen, Stanley, & Weiss, 1993; Seldin & DeZure, 1998; Wright & Miller, 2000). Sell & Chism (1991), addressed staffing of faculty development centers and the importance of finding the right match. They discussed preliminary and pre-interview screening of candidates and potential interview questions, but a discussion or examination of how interview materials are solicited and used during the process was not presented. What to include in documentation, how it can be used, how it can be peer reviewed, and how it can serve to communicate educational

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accomplishments and expertise is still an uncharted area in the faculty development profession. Seldin & DeZure (1998), in their presentation of the concept of the faculty developer portfolio at the annual conference of the POD Network in Higher Education, shared the findings of a national survey of what faculty developers wanted in a faculty developer portfolio. Although their presentation addressed the concept of the faculty developer portfolio for summative purposes, shared sample components of a generic model, and examined its potential as an assessment tool, they did not discuss the work that faculty developers do, how to gather and present professional evidence in a faculty development portfolio, or how this document can be used for formative purposes. After investigating job postings for faculty developers, Wright and Miller (2000), in one of the first published articles on the topic of the educational developer’s portfolio, suggested alternate frameworks to structure the profile of faculty developers. They did not, however, provide readers with an in-depth discussion of possible uses of the faculty development portfolio such as self-reflection and professional improvement. Yet there seems to be agreement that the faculty development portfolio could add to the visibility of the profession beyond search committees. In May, 2000, I was asked to present a workshop on “Documenting Your Professional Development: The Faculty Development Portfolio” at the annual meeting of the Great Plains Regional Faculty Development Consortium. The theme of this three-day meeting was the professional development of faculty developers. The organizers felt that such a topic was timely for the participants, both new and experienced faculty developers. Some ideas and data in this article are drawn from a working conceptual model for putting together a faculty development portfolio— an adaptation of the teaching portfolio concept, field notes and feedback from participants during the workshop as well as a brief evaluation shared by the organizers of this three-day meeting. With this background this article addresses the concept of the faculty development portfolio; discusses the work of faculty development professionals; identifies characteristics of effective faculty development professionals; outlines the steps involved in creating a faculty development portfolio; and demonstrates how to conceptualize, gather, and present evidence of accomplishments. Since the premise is that faculty developers are expected to have a strong background in teaching, it is appropriate to use and borrow liberally (Wright, 2000) from familiar teaching and course portfolio models (O’Neil & Wright, 1992; O’Neil & Wright, 1995; Seldin, 1991; Seldin 1993). By doing so, the



faculty developer portfolio provides a framework for faculty developers when documenting their professional development for summative and formative purposes. The Faculty Development Portfolio The faculty development portfolio is both process and product. It is a goal-driven collection of materials that document an educational developer’s experience in the field of faculty development over time. It is a factual description of one’s strengths and accomplishments. It includes documents and materials that capture the breadth and complexity of the responsibilities involved in faculty development work. When we asked participants at the 2000 Great Plains Regional Faculty Development Consortium Meeting to describe the work of educational development professionals, the responses were very broad, as one might imagine. (See Fig. 1.) Wright & Miller (2000) reported similar descriptors gleaned from job position postings. When looked at closely, these positions covered four areas—faculty development, instructional development, organizational development, and the “other development,” i.e., professional development of the educational developer. In some cases, the descriptors were so overlapping that it was difficult to categorize the job responsibilities in one primary area. As Figure 1 Possible Work of Faculty Development Professionals
Faculty Development Consult with faculty Market and influence programs Plan programs Reflect on what is happening at the institution Record-keeping Respond to requests Organizational Development Connect people with financial resources Work with campus units Organize recognition for others Write grants, articles, and newsletters Instructional Development Teach and advise students Evaluate courses Help faculty with technology

Professional Development Research Manage, mentor, and evaluate staff Professional service Network Learn literature Attend conferences

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Figure 2 Possible Characteristics of Effective Faculty Development Professionals
Knowledgeable about teaching, learning, and research Broad knowledge of the content and deep knowledge of the discipline Academic as well as traditional definition of the meaning of “multicultural” Understand institutions as organizations Experience as a teacher Able to frame problems and solicit action Able to suspend judgment Able to balance transactional and transformational leadership Able to collaborate with and empower administrators, faculty, student, and staff Able to multi-task Able to develop community Excellent interpersonal skills Listen well Change agent Passionate about their work Persistent, tenacious Resilient Flexible Team Player Trustworthy

evident in Fig. 1, the work of educational development professionals is diverse and involves a variety of activities. Further inquiry at the Great Plains meeting identified some primary characteristics of effective faculty developers for hiring or mentoring others in the field. The conference participants gave an exhaustive list of responses. (See Fig. 2.) The majority of characteristics on this list, however, are hard to document in a portfolio. For example, while it is clearly important for an educational developer to have excellent interpersonal skills, this is difficult to document due to the confidential nature of one-on-one or group communication which occurs in faculty interviews or observation and performance feedback sessions. Similar to what Seldin (1993) has described in his work on teaching portfolios, the faculty development portfolio allows faculty developers to display their accomplishments for examination by others. When faculty development colleagues were asked to brainstorm possible uses of such a portfolio, they compiled an interesting list. When we looked at the list, (Fig. 3), two distinct purposes emerged. The portfolio can be used for summative (decision-making) as well as formative (improvement) purposes. For example, educational developers applying for a new position



Figure 3 Possible Uses of the Faculty Development Portfolio
Summative Promotion Awards Annual salary review Job applications Peer review Program review Job description Define career goals Document a person’s transition Formative Mentor colleagues Define jobs at teaching centers Staff development Document growth of a center Measure implementation of goals Introduce self to departments Plan activities and goals Collaboration Reflection

will find it helpful to document their experience in faculty development. This can be important when a search committee examines the credentials for personnel decisions. Or, one can assemble the portfolio for a performance review, and it then reflects the accomplishment of goals or points to areas for growth. Thus the portfolio is indeed both process and product. A Conceptual Framework for Developing Contents There is no formula for preparing the contents of the portfolio. Experience suggests that most faculty developers, like faculty, rely on a procedural approach in creating their portfolio. The faculty development portfolio is not intended to be an exhaustive compilation of all the documents and materials of one’s work. Rather, it is a careful selection of material that explains the developer’s experiences and provides solid evidence of effectiveness. The following steps are based on personal experience in the job application process, as well as on the work of O’Neil and Wright (1992), Seldin (1991), Seldin (1993), Seldin & DeZure (1998), and Wright & Miller (2000). Step 1. Outline the faculty development responsibilities. As seen in Fig. 1, the work of educational development professionals is very diverse. Typically, these responsibilities include faculty development, instructional development, and organizational development activities. Other administrative responsibilities may include supervising staff, service to the profession, teaching, contributing to research in the

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field, and continued professional development. These responsibilities are usually based on the job description at the time of hire. Step 2. Choose items for the faculty development portfolio.Based on what is outlined in the faculty development position, the educational developer selects related items for inclusion in the portfolio. Step 3. Prepare narrative statements on each item. The educational developer prepares statements that describe the activities, experiences, and accomplishments with each item. Step 4. Arrange items in order of importance. The arrangement of items in the portfolio depends on the use. For example, if one is applying for a job in the field that asks for experience in planning successful faculty development programs, then evidence that documents the impact of program development and implementation is emphasized. Step 5. Secure evidence for the items. Evidence supporting the items in the portfolio should be compiled in a separate file and made available as needed. For example, some of these items might include letters from faculty clients or faculty development awards or honors. Step 6. Incorporate the portfolio into the curriculum vitae. As Seldin (1993) suggested for the teaching portfolio, the educational developer’s portfolio is then organized under headings appropriate for the work of an educational developer. Examples of headings might be, “Program Development,” “TA Training and Development,” or “Workshops.” Choosing Items The items of the faculty development portfolio depend, to some degree, on whether the document is used for summative or formative purposes. Based on personal experience and on a survey conducted by Seldin & DeZure (1998) of 300 members of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, some items are commonly thought of as more important to include as evidence than others. There were 202 respondents to the survey, who had been asked to rate the importance of 19 items for possible inclusion. The scale was 1–3, with weights of “1 = Not So Important,” “2 = Moderately Important,” and “3 = Very Important.” It is possible that some of the items on the survey might have received a higher rating if administered to university administrators, who are charged with hiring educational development professionals to coordinate teaching and learning efforts.



Respondents rated the following items as “very important”: evidence of impact on teaching effectiveness (2.82); evidence of impact on student learning (2.68); evidence of the educational developer’s experience with coordinating faculty development workshops and programs (2.66); evidence of identification of faculty needs/interests (2.63); evidence of support for targeted audiences (e.g., new faculty, TA’s) (2.53); a reflective statement that explains faculty development methodology of practice (2.50); and evidence of efforts and or plans to improve one’s own effectiveness in the role as a faculty developer (2.50). It is not surprising that these items were more highly rated since these activities are the bulk of the work of faculty developers and the services provided by faculty development programs. Items that were rated as “moderately important” were: a statement of faculty development job responsibility (2.32); evidence of involvement in larger institutional organizational issues (2.26); evidence of program goals and objectives (2.26); evidence of development of training materials (2.23); dissemination of materials on teaching and learning (2.22); and evidence of workshops/services/programs organized by the faculty developer but presented by someone else (2.21). Items rated as “not so important” for inclusion were: evidence of research/publication for internal institutional use (2.05); evidence of research/publication for external dissemination (2.05); evidence of integration of technology in delivery of services (2.03); evidence of obtaining and or supervising internal grants and or funding (1.74); evidence of obtaining and or supervising external grants and or funding (1.68); and evidence of commitment to diversity (1.52). The low rating of evidence of knowledge of the instructional technologies is surprising given the apparent need for educational development specialists with knowledge of and experience with the use of technology in teaching. The low rating of evidence about diversity is, however, not surprising, as there are very few faculty development programs which address issues of multiculturalism and diversity for faculty or TAs. The list below highlights materials that can be important in a faculty development portfolio. The intent of this list is not to suggest that these are the roles and responsibilities of faculty developers. It is organized with the idea that faculty developers provide some portfolio materials, while other materials are solicited from others. Materials from Oneself • Description of faculty and TA development responsibilities (including local, regional, national, and international work)

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• Self-reflective statement of philosophy of faculty development practice and goals • Copies of papers or presentations on faculty development or student/faculty learning • Classroom research activities • Description of courses that one is qualified to teach, has taught, or is teaching • Representative course syllabi • Description of faculty workshops, programs, and services offered • Videotape of a sample workshop or seminar • Evidence of impact on faculty and TA clients such as course improvement activities and outcomes of student learning • Evidence of educational developer’s professional development activities • Evidence of faculty, instructional, and organizational support for faculty and TAs • Evidence of experience with writing and securing grants • Evidence of experience with technology • Evidence of commitment to diversity and social justice • Notation of faculty development awards and honors Materials from Others • Evidence of past and future agendas pertaining to research in faculty and TA development • Summaries of student evaluations of teaching • Evidence from others who have observed program development, seminars, and workshops and their impact on student learning and teaching effectiveness • Evidence from faculty and TA clients about impact on teaching effectiveness and student learning • Evidence of faculty, instructional, and organizational development contributions to the university or field • Evidence of professional development from a faculty development mentor • Evidence of faculty developers’ mentoring of faculty development prot´ g´ es e e Purposes of the Portfolio Conversation about the use of faculty development portfolios to document professional development often turns to the role for new and experienced faculty developers. The faculty development portfolio is



not a prescription of evidence, but rather a means of documenting philosophy and practice. The document serves to elucidate the faculty developers’ values, professional beliefs, goals, and professional roles. For example, for the experienced developer it offers an opportunity to provide a legacy of information for coaching someone new to the field. For the new developer, it offers a unique opportunity to articulate one’s beliefs, help define career goals, or collaborate with a mentor while organizing the dossier. A mentor and the new educational developer can discuss these questions: (1) why is the portfolio being prepared, (2) what does one hope to gain from the process, (3) which areas of their work would they want to have evaluated or developed, (4) what kinds of evidence are collected, and (5) how are the components analyzed and presented. An effective mentor and coach will provide new faculty developers with support as the document is being developed. The mentor or coach is an excellent source for assisting the new developer with the analysis and prioritization of what the profession demands and why it is important. The portfolio encourages discussion between experienced faculty developers and new faculty developers about the best institutional fit for their first professional appointment, as well as what areas of their work require further development; it is both process and product. Using the Portfolio for Formative Purposes The faculty development portfolio can be used in a variety of ways for personal improvement. As seen in Fig. 3, faculty development portfolios can be used in performance appraisal for the purposes of coaching for improvement, for staff development within a center, during program review of a center and its staff or peer review. When used for improvement purposes, the faculty development portfolio is best prepared by working in collaboration with a mentor or supervisor. At The Ohio State University, for example, in 1998 and 1999, the Director of the Center used the faculty development portfolio to enhance educational development specialists’ approach to faculty and TA development work. Educational development specialists were asked to put together documentation that included a description of how they currently spent their time and how they would like to distribute it in the future. They were given a list of items and asked to estimate the amount of time spent on various aspects of their work, which included faculty development responsibilities within and outside the university. In a separate section of the portfolio they were asked to reflect on their approach to areas

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of their work, including a self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses and to provide evidence on individual consultation with faculty, consultation with departments and colleges, event leadership, unit publications, event publications, organizational development, teaching and advising, supervision of staff, program leadership, research, national service, and personal professional development. The Director then reviewed the contents of the portfolio and met with the educational development specialists to provide feedback for improvement. For me, this process of organizing the portfolio was important to further both personal growth and career goals. The reflection and coaching during this process encouraged a deeper level of reflection not promoted by the institution’s standard performance evaluation measures, which seemed more summative than formative in design. Using the Portfolio for Summative Purposes The use of faculty development portfolios for summative purposes is more thoroughly treated in the discussion of the literature and conversations among faculty developers than formative uses (Asmar, 1999; Seldin & DeZure, 1998; Wright & Miller, 2000). Researchers suggest that faculty developers provide evidence on the scholarly activities in their portfolios in view of the many job announcements that expect applicants to have an appropriate research background (Asmar, 1999; Wilcox, 1997). Even though evidence of research publication for internal and external dissemination was rated as “not so important” in the survey conducted by Seldin and DeZure (1998), it is clearly seen as important by prospective employers. Because each faculty development portfolio is a highly individualized product and often prepared for dual purposes, dossiers vary in appearance and content. Although the content is different from one developer to the next, one could argue for the inclusion of certain standard items such as a statement of the educational developer’s philosophy of faculty development, evidence of experience with faculty development, or evidence of college teaching experience. In posting and responding to job advertisements in the field, I have found that the expectation of certain standard items helped gain a sense of candidates’ qualification for the advertised position. The challenge for continuing conversation in the field is to go beyond using the teaching portfolio as a model to capture the complexity and diversity of the faculty development profession (Wright & Miller, 2000). This conversation is timely in view of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher



Education’s interest in developing standards for professionals and professional practice in the field. Assessment of the Faculty Development Portfolio Questions of who assesses the portfolio, how many people are involved in the process, and how individuals are guided and trained in doing so warrant further discussion. The assessment of the faculty development portfolio, similar to the teaching portfolio, is a matter of subjective judgment. Participants in the Great Plains Regional Faculty Development Consortium felt that one form of assessment of the faculty development portfolio is to have it peer reviewed. Seldin (1993) suggests key requirements in the evaluation of teaching portfolios that are readily adaptable to the assessment of the faculty development portfolio. These key requirements are as follow. Relevance: There must be clear connections between the faculty development work and the elements selected for assessment. A guiding question to employ when determining relevance is, “What evidence illustrates the difference between experienced and inexperienced faculty developers?” Reliability: Is there consistency in the judgment of the evidence? There should be some general agreement in the assessment. While reviewers may evaluate content differently, together collective appraisals can be made. Practicality: Faculty development portfolios should be easily understood and appraised by peer reviewers or personnel committees. One way to do this is to set a page limit on their length, and this requirement should be communicated to the reviewers. Flexibility: Faculty development portfolios should be acceptable to the reviewers and the educational developer being evaluated. Reviewers should understand that faculty development work is very diverse; and they must be prepared to engage in open discussions and seek information from other sources, such as the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD), the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE), the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED), and similar organizations in order to make an appropriate judgment about faculty developers. It is difficult to assess a portfolio when the process and document are unique from individual to individual. One solution is to require

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certain items from among those suggested in the list. By requiring specific items, such as a statement of philosophy of faculty development practice and goals or evidence of faculty development contributions to the institution, reviewers are better able to make judgments about the experiences and expertise of the faculty developer.

Conclusion Wright & Miller (2000) argued that it is time for the educational development community to begin articulating the role of faculty developers and, more specifically, to develop measures for documenting their work. It is clear that faculty development portfolios provide a way to document professional work and development, but they can also serve to heighten administrators’ awareness of the diversity of educational development professionals and the roles that are most significant. While the formative and summative uses of the faculty development portfolio cannot be underestimated, it is also important to consider that the process and production of the document is highly personal and represents relationships between and among mentors, prot´ g´ es, faculty e e developers, and administrators. The development of the portfolio can be an individual as well as a collaborative process. Perhaps the best way to codify standards for professional development practice is for associations like the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education to answer this national and international challenge. Currently, the use of faculty development portfolios is limited to institutions and individuals guided by experience and applicability rather than standards.

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American Association of School Administrators “Conference Within a Convention,” New Orleans, LA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 380 869) Edgerton, R., Hutchings, P., & Quinlan, K. (1991). The teaching portfolio: Capturing the scholarship in teaching. A publication of the The AAHE Teaching Initiative. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education. Eison, J.A. (1993). Setting the stage: Introducing the teaching portfolio concept to one’s campus. Journal of Staff, Program, & Organizational Development, 11, 115–121. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. Knapper, C. K. (1998). Is academic development a profession? International Journal for Academic Development, 3, 93–95. Knapper, C.K. (1995). The origins of teaching portfolios. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 5, (1), 45–56. Millis, B. (1991). Putting the teaching portfolio in context. In K. Zahorski (Ed.), To improve the academy: Resources for faculty and instructional development, 10, (pp. 215–229). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. O’Neil, M.C., & Wright, W.A. (1992). Recording teaching accomplishments: A Dalhousie guide to the teaching dossier (1st ed.). Halifax, Canada: Office of Instructional Development and Technology, Dalhousie University. O’Neil, M.C., & Wright, W.A. (1995). Recording teaching accomplishments: A Dalhousie guide to the teaching dossier (2nd ed.). Halifax, Canada: Office of Instructional Development and Technology, Dalhousie University. Porter, E., Lewis, K., Kristensen, E.W, Stanley, C.A., & Weiss, C.A. (1993). Applying for a faculty development position: What can our colleagues tell us? In D.L. Wright & J.P. Lunde (Eds.), To improve the academy: Resources for faculty, instructional, and organizational Development, 12, (pp. 261–272). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. Seldin, P. (1991). The teaching portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions. Bolton, MA: Anker. Seldin, P., & Annis, L.F. (1990, Winter). The teaching portfolio. Journal of Staff, Program & Organizational Development, 8, 197–201. Seldin, P., & Associates (1993). Successful uses of teaching portfolios. Bolton, MA: Anker. Seldin, P., & DeZure, D. (1998). A faculty developer portfolio: An adaptation of a teaching portfolio. A workshop presented at the 23rd Annual Conference of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, Snowbird, Utah. Sell, G.R, & Chism, N.V. N. (1991). Finding the right match: Staffing faculty development centers. In K. Zahorski (Ed.), To improve the academy: Resources for faculty and instructional development, 10, (pp. 19–32). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. Wilcox, S. (1997). Learning from our past: The history of educational development in Canadian universities (Occasional Paper in Higher Education No.8). Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, Centre for Higher Education Research and Development. Wright, W.A., & Miller, J.E. (2000). The educational developer’s portfolio. The International Journal for Academic Development, 5, 20–29.