The UC Santa Cruz Context
In addition to being an AAU Institution, UC Santa Cruz is a double minority-serving institution that describes itself as “student-centered.” As a Hispanic Serving Research Institution (HSRI), we serve a student population of at least 25% Latinx-identified students and a high proportion of low-income students (27% of undergraduates identify as Latinx or Hispanic as of Fall 2022, and 31% of undergraduates are Pell grant recipients). We are also an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI), defined by the Higher Education Act as a university that enrolls at least 10% Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander students (30% of undergraduates as of Fall 2022).
Given these designations, the elements of your educational contributions should address not only how you teach to serve a diverse student body, but also how you design courses, how you mentor, and, at this time in the institution’s evolution, the degree to which you adopt and make actionable an equity mindset.
- Use multiple measures of teaching effectiveness
- Incorporate, but don’t overprivilege, student feedback
- Prioritize reflection and responsiveness on the part of those being reviewed
- Incentivize making changes to teaching practice, even if they are not initially successful
- Refocus attention on continuous improvement of teaching rather than on grading and rating instructors on a flat scale
Measures to Represent Your Teaching
The personal statement is extremely important and provides an opportunity for you to control the narrative. Be sure to avoid evaluative language. Instead, focus on documenting and reflecting on your teaching choices. Always start by reviewing your previous personnel action letter:
- Craft your own developmental narrative. Give course-level information including “identification of any new courses taught or of old courses when there was substantial reorganization of approach or content.”
- Focus on changes you made since the last time you taught the course, particularly in response to student or colleague feedback.
- Identify anything you learned and any information or insights that might inform your teaching going forward.
- You can refer to Student Experience of Teaching Survey (SETS) results, but don’t quote from them or evaluate yourself. Below are some suggestions to contextualizing student feedback in the personal statement. For more on SETS and student feedback, see our resources pages.
- Look for patterns and themes.
- Compare across, as well as within, particular courses.
- Identify deviations from patterns that may reflect the experiences of non-dominant student groups in your classes.
- Address any major negative comments that appear in more than two or three SETS.
- Ignore comments about things outside of your control.
- Summarize both strengths and areas in need of improvement.
- Go back to your prior review, identify any changes you’ve made on the basis of earlier feedback, and use that to show evidence of responsiveness.
Mentoring can be documented in the personal statement or in a separate statement. Provide comprehensive evidence of graduate/postdoc and undergraduate mentoring, research lab supervision:
- Describe different types of mentoring/supervisory activities you are involved in.
- Provide a comprehensive list of formal mentoring and supervision (BIOBIB).
- Record if you are heavily engaged in informal mentoring.
- Provide evidence of student success including awards, honors, publications, current positions achieved.
- Discuss professional development you engaged in to improve mentoring skills.
For additional information on mentoring, see our mentoring resources.
Keep a copy of your original syllabus on your desk (or whatever serves as your digital or actual desktop) to annotate as you teach a course, or as you prepare to teach a new version of a course you have taught in the past. Showing a reflective and iterative approach to your teaching is a key piece of evidence to show your teaching effectiveness, and it’s easy to forget all the changes you’ve made in your assessments, grading practices, course policies, and course materials/assigned readings.
- Annotate in one color for your original revised plan for the course.
- Continue to make revisions as you go along in another color.
- Also keep a record of your assignments or other assessments and how they changed since you last taught the course.
- When you write your personal statement, describe briefly any changes you made—in advance or on the fly—to improve student learning or engagement.
Other Evidence to Consider
- Peer Observation of Teaching — changes based on peer observation can be included in the developmental narrative of the personal statement
- Contributions to Educational Equity
- Professional Development — could be best incorporated in developmental narrative of personal statement (what I learned, what I changed)
- Contributions to Supporting the Culture of Teaching on Campus
Produced in collaboration with the Academic Senate Committee on Teaching, this white paper guides instructors in developing evidence of their teaching effectiveness, in order to provide a holistic and representative picture of the individual as a teacher, both for the personnel review process and for formative self-reflection.
Personnel review consultations provide an opportunity for you to get one-to-one support with preparing your teaching review file to successfully demonstrate your teaching effectiveness.