Portfolio Preparation

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Application Requirements

The elements of a complete application for a CORD Academy Award are as follows, in this order:

  1. Letter of Submission
  2. Education Portfolio matched to the Standard Setting Example [link to Standard Examples]
  3. Structured Summary
  4. Personal Statement
  5. Structured Abstract (for Educational Research and Enduring Educational Materials only)
  6. Table of Appendices
  7. Supporting documents arranged in Appendices
  8. CV

Reviewers have limited time to review portfolios. Sequencing your portfolio as required helps them in the process and ensures that none of your evidence is missed. Each element is described in more detail below.

Letter of Submission

Education Portfolio

An education portfolio appropriate for submission to CORD is a structured, condensed, presentation that demonstrates evidence of quality, quantity, and breadth of educational contributions specific to one chosen division of scholarship. The standard-setting examples provided for each category illustrate the preferred format of the portfolio and define the overall amount of evidence needed to be given a Academy Award for the category.

The applicant’s goal is to organize evidence of their accomplishments in a chosen category—using one or more standard-setting examples as a model—so that they can convince the reviewers that they have at least as much evidence as the example(s). This will require extraction of information from multiple sources: CV, a full educational portfolio, course evaluations, literature citations, or other documentation of educational accomplishments.

Based on the examples provided, the applicant must identify which of the one or two standard-setting prototypes in their chosen division of scholarship that they are most like. They must then briefly describe in what ways their experiences are similar or dissimilar from the standard-setting example (see the beginning of each template).

Structured Summary

The structured summary of accomplishments with evidence of their quality and breadth should be presented using the format illustrated by the standard-setting examples in your selected division of scholarship. These summaries are not to exceed the length delimited by each division of scholarship example.

Personal Statement

A personal statement (not to exceed two pages) about should elucidate goals as an educational scholar, personal preparation, process(es) for improvement, ongoing self-reflection and personal development related to the award category for which the applicant is submitting an education portfolio.

The personal statement must include your responses to the following three questions: 

      1. How has the emergency medicine philosophy and practice of emergency medicine influenced your aspirations as an educator (teacher, leader, creator of enduring materials or researcher)?
      2. How have you implemented these aspirations in your career?
      3. How have you helped to define the distinctiveness of emergency medicine education?

Structured Abstract

For the categories of Educational Research and the Development of Enduring Educational Materials only include structured abstracts in the form appropriate to each category (as demonstrated by the standard-setting templates).

Supporting Documents

Include a table of appendices which lists everything in each of your appendices.

Appendices are made up of copies of available supporting documentation (not to exceed 25 pages). Label and organize these documents so that primary and secondary reviewers can easily identify and refer to them.

Summarize learner’s numeric ratings of your teaching into tables; do NOT include copies of individual evaluation forms. As desired, include short narrative descriptions of the documentation you include. Do not include actual copies of materials or "artifacts" (e.g., syllabi, video of lecture).

We strongly recommend that you include a limited number of Letters of Support (One or two from learners, one or two from peers, and one or two from superiors.) Maximum allowed is six.

Criteria for Determining Quality of Scholarship

In order to help applicants illustrate the quality of scholarship, they should consider the table below. These criteria apply to multiple areas of scholarship, including scientific and educational research. Based on the award category, members of the peer review panel will look for answers to questions such as these in the information you present in your portfolio. For general details on scoring of applications, please see Application Review Process, [Link to Application Process page] or for division of scholarship specific details, please see Standard-Setting Templates and Examples by Division of Scholarship at the bottom of the page. 


Clarifying Questions

Clear, realistic and important goals and/or philosophy

  • Is educational endeavor important to mission of program?
  • Are goals specific and obtainable?
  • Are goals consistent with stated leadership philosophy?
  • Do goals reflect needs of profession, society, learners, other faculty?
  • Is the development of enduring materials guided by a cohesive set of professional goals?
  • Is researchers' line of research important to the field? 

Adequate preparation

  • Is teacher prepared to teach effectively?
  • Does leader strive to continuously learn new ways of dealing with challenging issues?
  • Does educator take advantage of educator development opportunities (peer review, skill building workshops, etc.)?
  • Does faculty have skills matching his/her role in preparing enduring educational materials?
  • Is researcher qualified to conduct research effectively?

Appropriate methods

  • Does teacher use appropriate teaching techniques? 
  • Is design of course effective? Does leader get others meaningfully involved? 
  • Are actions consistent with current literature?
  • Are systematic instructional design methods used to prepare enduring educational materials?
  • Is design of study appropriate?
  • Does study have sufficient statistical power?

Meaningful results

  • Does educational strategy (e.g., teaching method, course management) serve as model for others?
  • Were stated goals achieved? Do learners use the enduring educational materials as intended?
  • Are desired learning outcomes achieved? 
  • Does research study lead to outcomes worthy of publication in the literature?

Effective presentation (Sharing strategies or experiences with peers)

  • Are "lessons" learned about teaching, educational leadership or the preparation of enduring educational materials shared with peers at local, regional or national levels? 
  • Do peer reviewers for grant, journal and/or educational award find the presentation of results understandable and credible?
  • Is write-up of research results credible to a local, regional and/or national audience?

Reflective critique

  • Does teacher, leader, or developer solicit and use feedback from learners and peers?
  • Does educator examine multiple perspectives before changing strategies?
  • Does researcher solicit and effectively use advice from colleagues/mentors?

(From Scholarship Assessed, Glassik, Huber, and Maeroff, 1997)

Dos and Don’ts of Preparing the Portfolio for Academy Award Application

Below are listed common mistakes faculty members have made in preparing their mini-portfolios for other organizations in the past. This list is intended to help applicants avoid these mistakes in the future. This should be considered a supplement to the guidelines and examples for each award category. If your application is not found to meet the standard, you will receive feedback to help you prepare for resubmission. 

Common mistakes:

  1. Evidence provided is better suited for a different category than the one in which it is submitted.

    • This happens most often when the portfolio is submitted in the educational leadership category but provides mainly information about teaching.

    • Reviewers may only use the published standards (examples) for the category in which you submit your portfolio. Thus, evidence that does not fit the submitted category will simply have to be disregarded in the review process.

  2. While most evidence included in the education portfolio fits into the submission category, some evidence included does not and there is no explanation of why it is included.

    • In some instances it may be advantageous to include evidence in one category that belongs in another (e.g., teaching information in a leadership portfolio). This should be done ONLY IF the mismatched evidence is a very minor portion AND it is explicitly linked to the primary category (e.g., evidence of teaching relates to teaching a course which you lead or direct).

    • Remember that evidence better suited for another category detracts the reviewers from focusing on the evidence matching the primary category. Inclusion of such evidence makes it harder to compare the portfolio to the published standard.

  3. Portfolio lacks information about actual outcomes of your educational contributions.

    • Your portfolio will be judged in categories of quality, quantity and breadth matching or exceeding the published standards. One of the strongest forms of quality is information about learning outcomes.

    • Because outcomes information may be difficult to obtain, it is not absolutely essential. It will, however, be highly regarded and positively received when included.

  4. Portfolio lacks information needed for reviewers to judge all criteria of scholarship.

    • The review panel will use the nationally recognized criteria of scholarship to judge the quality of your educational contributions (see review criteria). Your goal is to provide explicit evidence for each. Much of this evidence will be found within your personal statement (goals as an educator; personal preparation; sharing of methods and results with the educational community including lessons learned; ongoing self-critique).

  5. Portfolio lacks evidence of peer review.

    • To verify one’s work in education and to gain insight into ways to continually improve, peer review is important. Your portfolio should contain evidence that you have solicited and used peer input. The review panel will look for evidence of mentoring and review in submitted portfolios. This is found in the examples used as standards. Solicited letters commenting on your general qualifications should be used with moderation (Maximum of 6 letters).

  6. Order of the materials does not match the published examples.

    • Reviewers have limited time to review portfolios. Sequencing your portfolio as required helps them in the process and ensures that none of your evidence is missed. The correct order is:

            • Letter of Submission
            • Match to Standard Setting Example
            • Structured Summary
            • Personal Statement
            • Structured Abstract (for Educational Research and Enduring Educational Materials only)
            • Table of Appendices
            • Supporting documents arranged in Appendices
            • CV

Mistakes related to the personal statement

  1. The personal statement is a narrative summary of evidence, not a statement of goals, preparation and ongoing improvement/reflection.

    • Evidence of quantity belongs in your structured summary. Your personal statement should include the information reviewers need to understand your educational philosophy, and judge your work, using the criteria of scholarship set forth in the review criteria.

  2. The personal statement is too long.

    • Remember that the maximum length of the personal statement is 2 pages however a one page statement may receive more careful review. Limit your statement to the most important points.

Mistakes related to the structured summary

  1. Too much jargon or reference to unfamiliar things.

    • Terms used in one school or institution may not translate to reviewers from another background. If you use terminology that may be unfamiliar to some, such as names of awards, provide brief explanation so that the evidence is not undervalued by the reviewers.

  2. Some evidence of quantity in the CV is not clearly included in the structured summary.

    • The review panel will only review the primary mini-portfolio. The CV is supplemental but may not be taken into account in the reviewers’ consideration of the application. The CV will be used for “auditing” of the structured summary only.

  3. The structured summary is not sufficiently condensed or organized.

    • Unlike a CV in which long lists of specific accomplishments are expected, the structured summary is a summary. You should group related items as much as possible and summarize the contents within each group with appropriate statistics / data. Use the published examples as guides.

  4. The portfolio lacks sufficient evidence of quantity.

    • As seen in the examples, faculty members need around 5 years of experience before even qualifying for these awards. While this is not an absolute, those with less than 5 years experience will need to explicitly make the case that they have done an exceptional amount of work each year so as to roughly equate to the standard-setting examples.

    • Remember that, while a lifetime of evidence may be included in the mini-portfolio, page limits must be adhered to and only the most recent 5 years will be weighed heavily.

  5. Information regarding quantity is ambiguous.

    • The reviewer pool is diverse, and some may not be familiar with the time demands of different educational endeavors. Thus, it is important to provide clear statistics or descriptive information so that reviewers may easily equate the amount of time and effort devoted to your activities. Wherever possible, follow the format used in the standard-setting examples and group individual events to be described as a whole. This will save pages in your portfolio and allow the reviewers to aggregate your activities into a cohesive picture.

Mistakes related to documentation and appendices

  1. Confidential information is not masked.

    • Learner evaluations that contain names / results on multiple educators should be masked to protect confidentiality. In most cases, individual rating forms should not be included but should be summarized into a table.

  2. Portfolio contains more information than necessary.

    • The purpose of documentation is to substantiate the assertions of quality and quantity you make in your personal statement and structured summary. You do not want the reviewers to have the impression that you are exaggerating your evidence. Documentation beyond what is listed in the standard is a waste of the reviewers’ time. You must adhere to the page limits and number of supporting documents. Not doing so may result in the un-reviewed return of your mini-portfolio.

  3. Letters of support don’t appear to have influenced self-reflection and/or improvement.

    • The ideal letter will provide feedback and insight which helps the applicant think about and improve their work. Letters written strictly for academic promotion are less helpful because they contain only summative information.

    • Applicants are encouraged to solicit input or formative feedback from peers on an ongoing basis and include these as evidence of feedback and its impact on the portfolio.

  4. Copies of learner evaluations are not summarized or synthesized.

    • To help reviewers form conclusions about the quality of your work, it is suggested that applicants create a table summarizing reports of learners (or other) outcomes.

    • In addition to quantitative data, it is also appropriate to include representative qualitative data (comments from learners).

Standard-Setting Templates and Examples by Division of Scholarship 

The following links include education portfolio standard-setting templates, specific guidelines, descriptions, standard-setting examples as models, and evaluation rubrics for each of the four divisions of educational scholarship.