Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

The CCTP Portfolio

The following comprises a CCTP portfolio:

Please note that students are responsible for keeping track of their own participation in our programs.

Your teaching experience

A critical element of preparing for college teaching is actual experience in the classroom.

List your teaching experiences at Yale or otherwise, including the following information for each assignment:

  • The semester you taught
  • Course number, department, and title
  • Your role (teaching fellow, head TF, PTAI, etc.).

Two occasions of observing others teaching

Reflective observation of others’ teaching has many benefits. Not only does it expand the repertoire of the observer, but it also gives him/her practice in taking a critical perspective on teaching and articulating observations of teaching practices and their effects on student learning.

Provide documentation for two occasions of observing another teacher and reflecting on their pedagogy. Your observations may include individually arranged visits to a lecture, lab, or section, or a peer observation* of another TF. For each observation, provide:

  • Course number, department, and title
  • Type of class (lecture, section, seminar, lab)
  • Instructor name
  • Instructor’s role at Yale (TF, professor, lector)
  • A write-up documenting your observations. You may use the forms (pre-class, during class, after class) we provide for peer observations or use them as a guideline to write a narrative reflection about the class.

Two occasions of being observed while you teach

At the CTL, we have a long history of observing teachers. In our experience, teachers benefit enormously from being observed. This process helps teachers in their ability to understand themselves as teachers and to make productive changes to the way they present material, lead discussion, and interact with students.

Two occasions of being observed are required. Observations may take the form of a CTL consultation, a faculty member’s feedback, or a peer observation.* Non-CTL observers may benefit from using the forms we provide for peer observations or may elect to them as a guideline to write their feedback.

For each occasion of being observed, provide:

  • Course number, department, & title
  • Type of class (lecture, section, seminar, lab)
  • Your role as the instructor (TF, lecturer, guest lecturer, etc.).
  • Write-up or letter from the person who observed you. Observers may use the forms (pre-class, during class, after class) we provide for peer observations or use it as a guideline to document their observation of the class. (Note that you will want to ask observers to provide this documentation to you in electronic form!)

*Peer Observation – Participants in the certificate program who opt for peer observation will be required to attend a Teacher Observation Training workshop, offered approximately twice per year, during which they will be instructed in the consultation process– framing, observation, reflection – as well as techniques for effective observation and for writing an observation report, which will serve as documentation for requirements 2 and 3.

Learning Communities

Learning communities are interdependent; they create shared knowledge that no single individual brings. These groups can be small, 3-5 people, or as large as a seminar class. Importantly, they meet regularly and keep all members accountable for progressing or growing in knowledge, skills or the task at hand. One text on group learning in higher education describes these communities as, “Long-term heterogeneous cooperative learning groups with stable membership whose primary responsibilities are to provide support, encouragement, and assistance in completing assignments and hold each other accountable for striving to learn (Johnson, 2006).”

Many of the requirements for the CCTP, including courses and workshop series, ask you to be part of specific learning communities. There are certainly other options on campus and online including the Science Education Seminar and Journal Club series, the Yale Postdoctoral Association, and others. This CCTP requirement asks you to reflect on the shared knowledge that has helped you develop as a teacher, scholar or mentor.

Training and development: Course plus Advanced Teaching Workshops

Formal training is an important element in becoming an effective teacher. In these stage-appropriate sessions, you will encounter and critique the best practices of others, review and apply research on effective teaching, and reflect and expand your own teaching practices.

  • Fundamentals of Teaching Course: Participants must complete one “Fundamentals of Teaching” course, pedagogy course approved by the CTL, or CIRTL MOOC. Most such courses are offered at the beginning of the fall semester. Watch for emails or visit the CTL website for a full listing of courses each semester.
  • Advanced Teaching Workshops: Participants must attend advanced pedagogy workshops offered through the Poorvu Center. On a case by case basis, we accept programming offered through the CIRTL network (freely available to all Yale affiliates) or other units at the Poorvu Center – please contact us to see whether an event you plan to attend will count. Watch for emails or visit the Poorvu Center website for a full listing of Poorvu Center workshops each semester.
  • Special Topics: Of the eight Advanced Teaching Workshops, your completion list should include one workshop each on teaching diversity and instructional technology.

Your teaching portfolio, complete and assembled as you would to submit to a job search.

The Teaching Portfolio requires graduate students to document the sum of their college teaching experience and articulate the unique perspective on teaching that they have acquired from it. It also allows graduate students to articulate their teaching experience and ability for presentation to prospective academic employers. The format we have chosen is consistent with portfolios that are increasingly part of an application for an academic position.

Include an annotated assemblage of the following materials:

Note: You may annotate according to your preferences. One common model is to include an italicized statement at the beginning of each document (particularly syllabi, course materials, and evaluations) providing context for the course, how the materials were or will be used, and any additional information that would help the reader more fully understand the courses you refer to. Alternatively, you may include a separate page at the beginning of the portfolio describing each piece.

  • Teaching statement  
  • Sample course materials
    • e.g., policy sheet, syllabus used, test questions, handouts, rubrics, review materials, in-class activities, lesson plans
    • These should be materials that you have actually used in your teaching, and the annotation should describe how you used each one.
  • Two newly developed syllabi
    • One introductory level and/or one advanced level course in your discipline
    • If you have not actually taught these courses, which will often be the case, these syllabi should provide a course plan (title, level, description, objectives, readings, methods and approach for instruction and grading, assignments, what topics will be addressed in what order over the course of the semester, etc.).
  • Student evaluations, if applicable
    • Most of you will be able to access your student evaluations online. We recommend that you sort your evaluations by question (rather than by respondent), and then click ”Print All Responses to Selected Question” to create a pdf of your evaluations. We further recommend that you annotate each set of evaluations with a brief description of the course and your role and your reflections on what you learned about the course and your teaching from the student comments. You may format the evaluations for readability, but please include the complete set of evaluations about your teaching.
    • A sample annotation might read, “The following evaluations are from a first-year composition course I teach on consciousness.  The course is aimed at first-year students making the transition to college writing. Students recognize my commitment to their learning and my skill at creating an inclusive space in which they feel comfortable sharing their writing.  They praise my ability to meet them where they are as writers, including in one-on-one conferences, which they rate generally as ‘very effective.’ Students note that they learned to ‘think critically about the readings’ and that the seminar discussions I led were ‘awesome—I felt like I was truly in a college atmosphere.’ Finally, students noted that they felt better prepared to write papers in their other courses.  ‘I feel much more confident that I know how to handle writing assignments in all my classes.’” 
  • Letters of support or consultation reports from observers who may be faculty or students
    • This is optional but can be a great help to job application packages.
    • This category may include letters that you solicit from faculty or students as well as informal emails from students (or others) who comment on your teaching.

Brief reflective narrative on your experiences. This can be interspersed with the materials or a separate section at the end.

Thoughtful reflection serves to enhance your preparation for college teaching and maximize the benefit you get from your experiences. It also helps the CTL understand the specific ways in which CCTP participants experience the program.

Compose a brief reflective narrative describing your experiences in each program category #1-5. We suggest that you structure your narrative by responding to the two questions below for each category #1-5:

  • How did you benefit from this experience?
  • How would you improve this experience?

Exit Interview and Transcript Notation

Receiving feedback about your efforts is beneficial to your development as a teacher. At your exit interview, we will comment on your certificate materials, give you feedback on your portfolio, and discuss how you have benefited from the program. The exit interview also provides an opportunity for you to offer suggestions and critiques of the program, which we value as we continually evaluate this program.

Inform the Center for Teaching and Learning that you intend to complete your certificate at least one month before you would like to schedule an exit interview by emailing Suzanne Young. We will schedule your exit interview according to mutual availability on a rolling basis. You will be asked to submit your materials by email at least two weeks prior to the interview for our review.

Please compile all of the materials, starting with the worksheet, into a single PDF named “last_name first_name CCTP month year” (e.g. “Smith John CCTP January 2020”).

At your exit interview, you can expect in-depth feedback about your teaching portfolio, which we hope will help you think more deeply about your teaching, develop your teaching statement for the job market, and improve your syllabi for your future courses. Exit interviews are scheduled to last one hour.

Your materials and comments are confidential and will not be shared beyond the CTL’s full-time staff without your express permission.

Roughly a month after completing the CCTP exit interview, a notation to that effect will appear at the top of your transcript.

Contact the Suzanne Young (suzanne.young@yale.edu), the Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Teaching Development, with any questions. We are happy to help at any point!



David Johnson, Roger Johnson, and Karl Smith. (2006) Active Learning: Cooperation in the College Classroom. Interaction Book Co. Edina, MN.