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Unit 2: Creating a Strong Portfolio

Click here for a PDF of Unit 2.

Introduction
Key Elements of the Portfolio
How to Use this Unit to Create a Strong Portfolio
How to Develop Each Section of the Portfolio

Career Statement
Curriculum Vitae
Teaching Portfolio
Letters from External Reviewers
Letters from Community Partners
Table of Accomplishments

References & Resources

Introduction

"The task is to communicate to reviewers the complexity of community-based work-it is like getting a "lab" in place-it takes time."
Associate Professor

"Describe and organize your evidence and cite literature that recognizes it as evidence. Be able to thoroughly explain how it meets your [department or school's criteria]. Document [your work] and then back it up with evidence."
Associate Professor

Your faculty portfolio will include the documentation of your work over a fixed number of years that will be stated in your school's promotion and tenure guidelines. Depending on your discipline or profession, this may include documenting your research, teaching, public health practice, clinical care and service. Depending on your institution, you may also be document your excellence in administration.

The promotion and tenure review has basically three components: the documentation that the candidate provides, the materials that the committee collects, and the process by which the committee reviews these materials and conducts its deliberations. A well-prepared faculty member can go a long way in making his or her "case" by providing strong context and solid documentation for the committee to consider.

Diamond, R.M. (1995). Preparing for Promotion and Tenure Review: A Faculty Guide. Anker Publishing Company, Inc. (pg14).

Documenting 'faculty work' in the health professions is by no means a "one size fits all" experience. Thus, the promotion and tenure process requires faculty to pay close attention to your institution's general faculty guidelines and those that are specific to missions for which they are to demonstrate excellence. For example, faculty in several Schools of Public Health might be expected to demonstrate excellence in research or teaching, and in public health practice. In the clinical professions, institutions may require that faculty demonstrate excellence in one or two areas, such as clinical care, and teaching or clinical care and research (i.e. clinical educator faculty appointments). Increasingly, the promotion process also applies to non-tenure track faculty. Non-tenure track faculty in many institutions can be promoted from assistant to associate to full professor, with slightly different criteria than those of tenure track faculty at the same institution.

The take home message here is that in developing your faculty portfolio, it is important to take initiative in learning what the expectations are and what you need to include in your portfolio. Two tenured community-engaged faculty members offer 20 practical suggestions in this article. In most cases, your department or school will appoint a sub-committee chair whose primary responsibility is to work with you to provide guidance and to give feedback as you develop and organize your materials. This individual, in many cases, can be invaluable to learning the system and gaining the support you'll need throughout the process.

Lastly, be prepared for the time and effort this process will require. In the toolkit unit on Planning for Promotion and Tenure, we provide a set of tools, tips & strategies that faculty who want to highlight community-engaged scholarship can take to prepare for promotion and tenure. These resources and careful planning will provide you with the needed groundwork to develop a strong portfolio. While this process will require time and a fair amount of emotional energy, we also encourage you to use this as a time to reflect on what you have accomplished with communities and to "celebrate it." Faculty in the Scholarship Project have noted:

"If you are doing something unique, let others know what you have done!"

"Don't be afraid to toot your horn."

"Realize the huge impact you are making and celebrate it."

Key Elements of the Portfolio

While there is a great deal of variability in faculty appointments in the health professions, there is a fairly uniform set of materials that faculty are expected to produce and organize for the promotion and tenure committee. The primary differences are in the areas of expertise that faculty are expected to emphasize and the specific criteria on which they will be assessed.

As noted by Diamond above, your committee will also be expected to collect some of these materials, such as the letters by external reviewers and the chair's letter. The materials reviewed by your committee usually include:

  • Career Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Teaching Portfolio
  • Letters by External Reviewers
  • Chair and/or Dean's letter

For an example of what is expected in a portfolio at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, please see pg. 28 of the school's faculty handbook.

How to Use this Unit to Create a Strong Portfolio

This unit is designed to enable you to integrate your community-engaged scholarship into each section of your portfolio. Our goal is to strengthen your portfolio and to show you creative ways that you can integrate and highlight your community involvement in each section. When you click on the section below, it takes you to a page that describes the core components and expectations of that section, and then provides a detailed set of strategies and examples of how one can highlight community-engaged scholarship.

Career Statement
Curriculum Vitae
Teaching Portfolio
Letters from/by External Reviewers
Letters from/by Community Partners
Table of Accomplishments

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