Faculty Perspectives: Effective Teaching Statements

About teaching statements, generally

The teaching portion of your dossier is how you will document your excellence in teaching for your peers to evaluate. It encompasses both your teaching philosophy and all the evidence that you use to support your implementation of that philosophy effectively. This means that you will share your core beliefs and abilities, supported with concrete examples that demonstrate how you bring them to the classroom. While you can organize your statement however is most comfortable to you, it is common to lead with your philosophy (“This is what I believe is important”) to set the stage for your evidence, which will include highlights of your UD teaching experience (“This is what I’ve been doing”), how you’ve grown/developed as an educator (“These are the improvements I’ve made to my teaching or my courses”), and your future goals (“This is what I hope to accomplish next”). Your evidence for each of these things will prove your positive impact on your students and colleagues. This evidence can draw from a variety of sources that should include student evaluations and examples from the classroom. Sample teaching materials (e.g. syllabi, usually appended) will round out your statement.


  • I strive to create a sense of community in my classes by making use of group work and peer review. By making efforts to build community in my classes, I am demonstrating how the broader professional community works. In return, the students become responsive and comfortable sharing their ideas and asking their questions. They trust that they are in a safe environment, which empowers them to learn without fear.
  • This student-centered mindset is clear in my teaching style. Rather than lecturing at the front of the classroom, I ask students to prepare presentations on the topics covered in the course. This type of activity encourages the presenting student(s) to delve deeply into their topic. 
  • I co-created a new course on ethics. Although ethics is the number one program goal (see Appendix 1 for goals), the undergraduate program has never had a course that focuses on the topic. I hope to teach (or co-teach) this experimental course again with the ultimate goal of making it a permanent part of the curriculum. 

It is important to remember that although your audience consists of your peers, they may not know the details of your work or discipline, so some explanation of your methods and goals is valuable to include. This is particularly true for professors in larger colleges like the College of Arts and Sciences and for cross-disciplinary professors. At the same time, these are educated and discerning people who will read straight through any unsupported claims, so be sure to offer examples throughout. This is not the place to write about teaching practice in general (your readers do not need lessons in pedagogy), but you should demonstrate how you implement good teaching practices, explaining your specific innovations in your specific courses.  

You may hear the terms teaching statement and teaching philosophy used interchangeably. Here, we consider the philosophy to be your beliefs and values related to teaching. Your statement will describe your philosophy and also document your teaching accomplishments. Begin your statement by introducing your teaching in the framework of your philosophy as a narrative that drives the reader into the evidence as you tell your story. The most effective statements will communicate these core principles and beliefs with direct and active sentences that mention the strategies and techniques you use to implement them, supported with concrete evidence. They also tell a compelling story: the story of your teaching!

Writing the Introduction

The introduction of your teaching statement is the opportunity for you to shine! While being humble is an amazing quality we should all possess, this should be the one opportunity for you to brag about yourself and demonstrate the great work you have done teaching over the past years of your review or promotion

In your introduction here are some questions to consider: 

  • Who are you? Give us a glimpse of who you are.
    • Example: I am a scholar practitioner who facilitates student-centered humanizing learning in the courses I co-create alongside students. 
  • If your promotion process involves research, how is your research aligned to your teaching?
    • Example: My teaching at the University of Delaware exemplifies and informs my research as a scholar-practitioner, focused on three interrelated areas: centering Blackness in English education; best practices for being, learning, and teaching focused on equity and social justice; and community-engaged teacher education.
  • Have you won any teaching awards? Or been nominated? 
  • What is your teaching philosophy in one strong powerful sentence? (Think elevator pitch!)
    • Example: I am committed to preparing the next generation of educators who will ensure that every student has an equitable opportunity to learn, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, ability and/or sexuality. 
  • How have you met the teaching expectations for the University of Delaware? Check out the faculty handbook, department’s rubric, and/or the program for the expectations, and cite them. Make it clear that you know what is expected of you, and lead with it.
    • Example: The English Education department’s faculty are committed to preparing future teachers who can support youth from diverse backgrounds. My work at the University of Delaware has upheld this commitment, not only through the assignments within the courses, but the opportunities extended to share these best practices with educators (K-16) in workshops and on panels
  • What courses have you taught?
    • Example: I have taught undergraduate courses…and graduate courses…(Find a concise way to list the courses you have taught.) 

Remember, that you are telling a compelling story about your teaching. What do you want the readers to know about you, your teaching philosophy, and teaching and learning in the courses you teach in the first paragraphs of your teaching statement? See an example of the questions below, in the introduction of a teaching statement.

Example Introduction

My teaching at the University of Delaware exemplifies and informs my research as a scholar-practitioner, focused on three interrelated areas: centering Blackness in English education; best practices for being, learning and teaching focused on equity and social justice; and community-engaged teacher education. My trajectory as a faculty member has included both a professor of professional practice and tenure track. I strive to strengthen the university’s national reputation on disrupting anti-Blackness and centering Blackness in English Education through my curricular practices. As a recent nominee for University of Delaware’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2022-2023 (see Evidential Materials iii. Teaching Award Nomination), my passion and commitment to preparing the next generation of educators who will ensure that every student has an equitable opportunity to learn, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, ability and/or sexuality is evident.  I understand the importance and weight of my teaching practices that impact preservice teachers’ clinical and future teaching practices, especially for marginalized students. I am the only Black faculty member in our program, which aligns with the national cultural mismatch of overwhelmingly white educators. There is a growing demographic of students of color in K-12 classrooms, who are not being served, which is why the act and art of teaching is a serious and urgent matter.   

Over the last five years, I have worked strategically to not only meet the expectations of the English department at University of Delaware and English Education program at Rutgers University, but to teach students how to interrogate what is deemed knowledge concerning English Education, especially the prevalence of anti-Blackness in K-12 ELA classrooms. The English Education department’s faculty are committed to preparing future teachers who can support youth from diverse backgrounds. My work at the University of Delaware has upheld this commitment, not only through the assignments within the courses, but the opportunities extended to share these best practices with educators (K-16) in workshops and on Panels (see Evidential Materials: Workshop/Panel Flyers & Materials). For example, I have facilitated workshops on best teaching practices for teaching for liberation with Illinois State University’s College of Education, and workshops on centering Blackness in the classroom for the Black Teacher Collaborative. 

I have taught undergraduate courses ENGL 294: English Language: Grammar & Usage twice, ENGL 492: Teaching English in Secondary Schools and ENGL 395: Literacy & Technology at the University of Delaware. I have taught Introduction to Education, Individual and Cultural Diversity in the Classroom, Inquiry Based Teaching: Learning and Assessment twice, Teaching Literacy: Readers, Texts and Assessments and Students twice, Students, Communities and Social Justice (of my own design) twice, in the Masters program at the graduate school of education at Rutgers University. I have also taught a doctoral level course, Teacher Leadership Inquiry I (Evidential Materials: v. Teaching Timeline At Rank).

Nuts and Bolts of your Statement

Once you’ve hooked your readers with your story and shared your philosophy, it’s time to make sure you outline your teaching. This will look different for everyone. Variables like how many different courses you teach, what type of context you teach in (classrooms, on the stage, in a clinical setting, etc), and the goals of your department will influence how you present your teaching. You shouldn’t repeat your CV here (it’s not a time to list all of your courses), but you should detail your teaching style and innovations by describing how you teach a specific course. Link your examples to learning outcomes and how you know they are being achieved. Explain to your reader what you and the students are experiencing together and share the results. This is also where you might describe examples of something that didn’t work and what you did to correct it. Show your reader the evolution of your teaching and the trajectory you’d like to see develop using these objective facts that you’ve chosen from your experiences. 

As you discuss your teaching and successes in the classroom, link back to both your philosophy (point out examples that demonstrate your core beliefs) and to how you are supporting your departmental, college, and university-level goals. 

Showing your Growth and Development as an Educator Outside of Teaching

Within your teaching statement, it is also important to address the ways in which you continually improve your teaching skills. While teaching statements provide a foundational framework to document teaching effectiveness, professional development opportunities can greatly enhance your ability to deliver high-quality educational experiences. In this section, we will explore the variety of ways that you can engage in professional development to further support your teaching.

Workshops and Conferences

Participating in workshops, seminars and conferences focused on teaching and learning can provide valuable insights and practical strategies for effective instruction. These professional development opportunities often feature presentations offering evidence-based pedagogical approaches and innovative teaching techniques. Attending such gatherings allows you to connect with peers from different institutions or even within the university. This provides an opportunity to connect with peers from different disciplines to exchange ideas and gain fresh perspectives on teaching. At the University of Delaware, for example, the Center for Teaching and Learning Assessment (CTAL) offers annual workshops and conferences such as the Summer Institute on Teaching. Additionally, the office of Academic Technology Services (ATS) hosts the bi-annual Keep Calm and Teach On series of workshops prior to the fall and spring semesters. Upon completion of these workshops, you receive a certificate or letter confirming your participation, which can be included in the teaching section of your dossier to demonstrate your commitment to professional development. Furthermore, you can annotate these certificates or letters to describe how you applied what you learned at the workshop into your teaching, curriculum design, or department learning goals.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

PLCs are collaborative groups of faculty members who come together to explore specific teaching and learning topics. These communities offer a supportive environment for faculty to engage in shared learning and reflective opportunities. PLCs encourage the exchange of ideas, peer mentoring, and the development of new teaching strategies. By participating in PLCs, you can deepen your understanding of effective teaching and gain insights from diverse disciplinary perspectives. Work that is produced as a result of these experiences can also be included in the teaching section of your dossier.

Online Courses and Webinars

With a variety of online resources available, you can take advantage of the flexibility and convenience to engage in self-paced learning opportunities or participate in live sessions. Platforms like Coursera, edX, and LinkedIn Learning (which is freely available to students, faculty and staff at the University of Delaware) provide a wide range of courses on pedagogy, assessment, instructional design and other relevant topics. Additionally, professional organizations and educational institutions often offer webinars that address specific teaching challenges and trends.

Teaching Observations and Feedback

Peer observation and feedback can be powerful tools for professional growth. Some departments facilitate the observation of teaching practices and provide constructive feedback to instructors as part of a formal peer review process. Outside of that formal process, faculty can seek a formative teaching observation from the Center for Teaching and Learning Assessment (CTAL). By completing a consultation request form, you can identify a few dates on which you would like your class to be observed. A member of the CTAL team will meet with you prior to the observation to determine your goals and the feedback you would like to have. A feedback session will be held after the observation is complete in order to discuss what was observed and to explore ways to improve instruction. You are the only person who has access to the feedback that is generated during the observation.


Engaging in this process allows faculty to receive objective evaluations, identify areas for improvement, and learn from successful strategies employed by colleagues within and outside of your department. Peer observation programs foster a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement. Documenting these observations and how you have implemented feedback from them can serve as evidence of your commitment to refine your teaching over time.

Research on Teaching and Learning

Engaging with scholarly research on teaching and learning (SOTL) can provide valuable insights into effective instructional practices. Faculty can explore published studies, journals, and books on pedagogy to stay up-to-date on current research findings. The insights gained from reviewing SOTL findings can also enhance your teaching philosophy, and serve as one of the guiding principles for how you approach teaching. 

(Example: In the last five years, my approach to teaching evolved based on my industry experience, attendance at teaching seminars and workshops, feedback from informal and formal teaching evaluations, as well as review of pedagogical literature. One of the books that most inspired my teaching style is “What the Best College Teachers Do” by Ken Bain. In his book, Bain writes the following…)

By actively seeking out professional development opportunities, faculty can also enhance their teaching effectiveness and create impactful learning experiences for their students. It is crucial for faculty members to invest in continuous improvement, as teaching practices evolve alongside the changing needs of learners. Professional development not only provides faculty with new instructional strategies, but also fosters a culture of lifelong learning.

(Example: As outlined in my CV, I regularly attend teaching conferences and workshops to improve my delivery of curriculum and to better understand the latest trends and best practices in active learning and other pedagogical areas. For example, when I attended the annual Public Relations Society of America’s Educators Academy Summit in 2022, I learned that many professors of public relations use social media simulations in their classes to help students apply and assess various social media engagement strategies. Based on this growing trend in public relations classrooms, I am now exploring opportunities for our department to garner alumni support of these platforms for use in public relations courses at University of Delaware.)

In conclusion, effective teaching statements provide a foundation for instructional practice, but professional development opportunities offer avenues for facility to enhance their teaching skills. Through workshops, conferences, PLCs, online courses, teaching observations and research on teaching and learning, faculty can continually grow and refine their instructional approaches. By embracing professional development, faculty demonstrate their commitment to delivering quality education and preparing students for success beyond the classroom.

Created by: Nina Owczarek, Kisha Porcher, Tara Smith