Academic Librarian Portfolios Workshop Co-Sponsored by USC Libraries’ PSC and APCAT Committees Danielle Mihram, May 2011
Goals and Outcomes of this Workshop
Introduce the concept of a portfolio as tool to document:
Professional and Personal Development
Continuing appointment and promotion reviews
Discuss the benefits and challenges of creating and using an academic librarian portfolio
Establish a foundation for future discussions and workshops that inform us, as library faculty, as we
engage actively and collaboratively in the implementation of our Library’s and University’s missions and goals
Portfolios as Reflections of Ourselves
Reflective and deep information about ourselves and the significance of our work as library faculty.
Self-assessment of the nature of our research and scholarship, of our most noteworthy accomplishments, and of our role on institutional (and national) committees.
The portfolio thus constitutes a careful gathering of documents and material highlighting our performance and suggesting its scope and quality.
Focus on the “why” [thoughtful reflection] and the “how” [context] no longer just on the “what”.
Presents the hard evidence [evidence-based] on work, research, and service.
A variety of portfolios
Tips for starting your portfolio
Goals and processes for the creation of your portfolio
Benefits and challenges of portfolio creation
A Variety of Portfolios for Self-Evaluation & Development
The Learning Portfolio (students)
The Course Portfolio (instructors)
The Teaching Portfolio (instructors)
The Academic Portfolio (faculty)
The Administrative Portfolio (faculty)
The Academic Librarian Portfolio (Library faculty)
Each is a careful gathering of materials that document
thus serving to highlight performance and suggest scope and quality.
The Academic Portfolio
“… a reflective, evidence-based collection of materials that document teaching, research, and service performance. It brings together in one place information about a professor’s most significant professional accomplishments. It includes documents and materials that collectively suggest the scope, quality, and significance of a professor’s achievements. As such it allows faculty members to display their accomplishments for examination by others.”
( Seldin 2009, p. 2)
Just as an Example -- Contents of an Academic Portfolio: Teaching
Statement of Teaching Philosophy
Teaching Methods, Strategies, Objectives
Student Ratings on Summative Questions
Colleague Evaluations From Those Who Have Observed Classroom Teaching or Reviewed Teaching Materials
Statement by the Department Chair Assessing the Professor's Teaching Contribution
Detailed, Representative Course Syllabi
Products of Teaching (Evidence of Student Learning)
Teaching Awards and Recognition
Teaching Goals: Short-Term and Long-Term
Just as an Example -- Contents of an Academic Portfolio: Research
Research Methods, Strategies, Objectives
Students accomplishments in research lab
Significant outcomes of collaborative or inter-disciplinary research
Research awards and recognition
6. Research Goals: Short-Term and Long-Term
The Administrative Portfolio
“… a collection of materials that document administrative performance. It brings together in one place information about the scope and quality of an administrator’s activities and accomplishments. It allows display of administrative achievements for examination by others and, in the process, contributes to both sounder personnel decisions and to the professional development of individual administrators (Seldin & DeZure, 1999)”
(Seldin 2002, p. 5)
The Administrative Portfolio
“… It is important to point out that the administrative portfolio is not an exhaustive compilation of all the documents and materials that bear on administrative performance. Instead, it presents selected information on administrative activities along with solid evidence of their effectiveness. … all claims made in the portfolio must be supported by firm empirical evidence.”
(Seldin 2002, p. 5)
Selecting Contents for an Administrative Portfolio
See details in handout:
Seldin 2002: “Choosing Items for the Portfolio” pp. 14-20.
“ In deciding what to include in the portfolio, it is important to consider whether the focus should be on outcomes (results) or behaviors (activities).”
Contents of an Administrative Portfolio
Statement of Administrative Philosophy
Administrative Methods, Strategies. Objectives
Multisource Performance Evaluation Data
Evidence of Impact on Areas of Responsibility
Five most significant Administrative Accomplishments
Administrative Awards, Recognition
Statement by the Administrator’s Supervisor Assessing the Administrator’s Contribution
Contributions to Administrative Conferences/Journals/Books
Administrative Goals: Short-Term and Long-Term
The Academic Librarian Portfolio
“… a reflective narrative about librarianship, service, and professional/scholarly activity. Its creation requires time, effort, and most of all, contemplation about what you value, what you do to accomplish the goals you value, how your effectiveness is measured and how you develop professionally as librarian/scholar. The Professional Portfolio presents examples of your best work, not a compendium; thus it is selective .
( Elmhurst 2000)
An effective Academic Librarian Portfolio serves three essential purposes.
First, it presents a strong case for your development as a librarian, especially if each item you write about clearly demonstrate its value to you and to the Library and if your philosophies and your practices are consistent.
Second, it allows you to describe the role scholarly/professional activity plays in your professional development, especially when those activities, whether attending professional meetings, presenting research, publication, performance, exhibition of work, demonstrate a considered process of growth and development.
Research/Scholarship: Guiding questions as prompts (Seldin 2009, p. 16):
How would you explain your research [scholarship] to someone who knows very little about your discipline?
What are your goals? Methods? Results?
Why is your research significant?
What impact has it had on your discipline? On your department [unit] On your students?
What are your short-term and long-term research and scholarship goals?
An effective Academic Librarian Portfolio serves three essential purposes…
Third, an effective Professional Portfolio allows you to describe your participation in the life and work of your department, the college, your profession and your community.
See: Elmhurst College Faculty Council, Spring 2000. “The Professional Portfolio for Librarians”.
It is often valuable to write the professional portfolio with the help of a mentor. (See, for example Seldin 2002, pp. 43-49: “Serving as an Administrative Portfolio Mentor” [Handout].)
Contents of an Academic Librarian Portfolio
Philosophies of Librarianship
Essentials Areas of Librarianship
Evidence of Librarianship
Professional Development in Librarianship
Representative Professional/Scholarly Materials
(Elmhurst 2000, and vanDuinkerken 2010)
An Academic Librarian Portfolio or an Administrative Portfolio:
is a “collegial effort”: most effective when used/created in collaboration with others (assistance, feedback in structuring the portfolio and deciding what goes into it.)
is representative vs exhaustive (focus is on quality, significance, and impact).
process is “owned” by the individual library faculty since it involves both documentation and personal reflection.
is a living document that is revisited and revised often.
Some Quotes from Faculty (Seldin 2009 5-6)
“ By completing the academic portfolio, I’ve been able to easily gather the important documents that I need to support my application for promotion.” (Economics, Pennsylvania).
“ The portfolio was particularly helpful as I prepared my material for tenure. It helped me articulate who I am academically to people outside my discipline. That was invaluable.” (Political Science, North Carolina).
“ My portfolio helped me to get ready for the promotion process! I felt much more prepared. Internal feedback on my portfolio was very positive, and several colleagues have now asked me to mentor them as they prepare their own portfolio.” (Clinical Science, Washington)
Tips for starting your Portfolio
Start small, search resources and look for sample materials
Reflect and Review your Philosophy of Librarianship
(See Dority 2006)
Collect materials that could be included in your portfolio
Prepare narrative statements about each piece of supporting material
Involve library faculty mentors who are willing to help you (this is a voluntary activity on their part)
Goals of an Academic/Administrative Portfolio
Demonstrate breadth of experience and research
Range of achievements. Collecting and connecting your various accomplishments; a compelling representation of your work and of you.
Evaluate achievement of intended outcomes.
Opportunity to showcase your accomplishments. Your best work.
Reflect, assess your own professional development. Representative pieces; written reflections (to make connections between where you were, where you are, and where you want to be.)
Share your expertise.
Legacy of best practices in both librarianship and research. May lead to mentoring of less experienced librarians.
Three Basic Processes for the Creation of Your Portfolio
Gathering the material
A relatively short collection of materials that summarizes and highlights a librarian’s activities, including: librarianship, service, and professional/scholarly activity.
An organized, goal-driven documentation of your professional growth that contains tangible evidence of a wide range of knowledge and skills..
Thinking critically about your total work responsibilities and your research experiences; opportunities for dialogue with others and for feedback.
Making personally meaningful connections between
Your field of research, its body of knowledge, and its applications
Your service and community experiences
What are the benefits of the academic/administrative portfolio?
Captures the complexity of librarianship (development over time)
Places responsibility for evaluation in the hands of the faculty
Encourages improvement and reflection (processes and products)
Provides evidence of accomplishments
Helps formulate/define “excellent librarianship”
Supports continuing appointment and promotion reviews
Is used to provide evidence in applications for grants or release time
Can provide (to the institution) data on your performance to persons and organizations operating off-campus, such as government agencies, board of trustees, alumni, advocacy groups, accreditation…
What are the challenges of creating a portfolio?
Articulating a Philosophy of Librarianship that
-- anchors the portfolio and provides a framework for the evidence to follow
-- truly highlights your goals, accomplishments, and impact on the institution and the field of Librarianship
Institutional support / resources
Sustaining a supportive group of mentoring colleagues.
A Document that Evolves Over Time
Remember: The portfolio is a living collection of documents and materials which change over time
New items are added, others are dropped.
Once each year, when sections of the curriculum vitae are updated, the same is done for the portfolio’s various sections.
A Point to Consider: Portfolio Formats
Limitations of Physical Portfolios (paper or CD)
Logistic challenges (space and time).
Advantages of Electronic Portfolios
Information in multi-media (text, graphics, animation, sound,video)
Hypertext environment: e.g., menus, hyperlinks, searchable information
Non-linear thinking; “deep” organization
Asynchronous access for others (for feedback and collaboration)
Discussion and panel feedback
Elmhurst College Faculty Council, Spring 2000. “Th e Professional Portfolio for Librarians. ”
Dority, G. Kim (2006). “C r eating your Professional Portfolio,” Chap. 6 in Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals . Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.
Seldin, Peter (2009). The Academic Portfolio : A Practical Guide to Documenting Teaching, Research, and Service . Jossey-Bass.
Seldin, Peter (2002). Administrative portfolio : A Practical Guide to Improved Administrative Performance and Personnel Decisions . Anker Publishing.
vanDuinkerken, Wyoma, Catherine Coker, and Margaret Anderson (2010). “L o oking Like Everyone Else: Academic Portfolios for Librarians,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 36(2):166-172, March 2010.