In the past few years, an increasing number of schools have begun to ask for sample teaching materials from candidates. This usually happens after the first "cut" is made, when Hiring Committees are looking over a "short list" (usually 50+ candidates) to see who they want to interview at the MLA, but it can occur at any stage in the hiring process. As such, even if you are some years away from the job market, you may want to start compiling materials now. The English Department has established a teaching portfolio process to help you with this, and, if a school requests such materials, the Department will send out your portfolio for you, thus establishing the credibility of the file (so schools will know that you didn't just make up all those glowing comments from students included in the typed comments from evaluations).
Whenever you're in the mood, go see Barbara Simpson and tell her you'd like to open a Teaching Portfolio. She will be happy to start a file for you, and she will duplicate any materials from your "Permanent Record" that you'd like to include in the Teaching Portfolio. Anything else you'd like to include can also be given to her, and she will send out the portfolio to schools that request one.
This is your file, and you determine what goes in it. As such, you should probably sit down with it at least once a year and update it, replacing dated materials and selecting the best student and peer evaluations for inclusion. Obviously, the year that you go on the job market, you should put the entire file in a "finalized" form. I will be happy to assist you with this task if you'd like.
As a minimum, you should include the following items:
Do not overdo this file. You want to provide a solid picture of your teaching expertise without
overwhelming a hiring committee. Beyond a certain point, the more material that you include, the
less carefully it will be read. Since there will be teaching letters in your dossier, one or two peer
evaluations (from different people) are enough. As long as you cover both composition and
literature classes, two or three sets of evaluations should be enough.
Obviously, you need not include materials that reflect negatively on your teaching. If you receive a peer evaluation that is largely constructive criticism, follow the advice and get another letter from the same (or another) evaluator. Pick out your best student evaluations (duh!). Also, keep in mind that it's okay if there are a few negative comments from students (particularly if students complain that you are demanding as an instructor or write any other remarks that suggest academic rigor).Dennis Allen 12/3/96