My teaching portfolio consists of seven elements:
  1. An elaborate instructional materials website called Great Ideas in Personality;
  2. Samples of my students' Papers and peer commentaries, which are displayed in this website;
  3. Participation in semester-long workshops on writing and teaching effectiveness;
  4. Syllabi and teaching evaluations for university courses in which I was sole instructor;
  5. Experience as instructor for six to nine courses per year for over 2 years;
  6. Experience as sole supervisor of undergraduate and graduate student research projects that resulted in publications in peer-reviewed journals;
  7. Collaboration with undergraduate and graduate students on research presented at international conferences.

I have an excellent record of teaching both one-on-one and in the classroom. By helping students formulate their ideas coherently and communicate them to each other and to the public, I have successfully cultivated in students the skills in writing and critical thinking that I have developed in my own work. Moreover, I have sought to provide information to students on an as-needed basis, not only through lectures and discussions, but also through an elaborate instructional materials website called Great Ideas in Personality. Begun in 1997, this website allows my students to learn what they need, when they need it.

Because Great Ideas in Personality became one of the most frequently visited personality resources on the web, it afforded an opportunity for students to work toward an intrinsically meaningful goal. I reasoned that students would make extra efforts if they knew that their work would be visible to a large number of people who found their topic interesting, and my expectations were fulfilled. My students produced excellent work in the form of personality papers with peer commentaries and author responses, which are publicly viewable and have even been used as resources by instructors in other personality courses.

I believe the process that went into refining the papers could be replicated successfully almost anywhere in the curriculum, from the undergraduate Scientific Writing seminar to the graduate Writers' Task Force (both of which I have taught). The papers underwent a process of peer review in which students suggested improvements on multiple drafts of their peers' papers. Papers that a student's peers deemed exceptionally good were revised for publication on the web. Other students then wrote peer commentaries that were published along with the target papers. Finally, the author responded to the peer commentaries. My role was that of editor of all of these materials. This method was recognized as so innovative by my department that a new course was created, Scientific Writing, for me to use this method.

For my students, thinking of something new to say created a necessity for independent critical thinking, whereas reading and evaluating another student's paper meant absorbing what that student knew of the field. This is an example of what one cognitive scientist called case-based learning, a kind of natural learning that facilitates long-term memory and application. For my students, the result was unambiguously demonstrated mastery of the content area. The key to achieving this result, I believe, was providing a goal that was intrinsically meaningful and a process that helped students reach that goal.


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