Apologies for going AWOL; a perfect storm of out-of-town guests, an out-of-town trip of my own, and the collation of fifty bazillion documents for my reappointment file conspired to keep me away from all you lovelies.
Regional U has both a three-year and a five-year review, the latter preparatory to going up for tenure in year six. The idea is to be able to make any last-minute interventions if the candidate isn't quite on track for tenure--or just put together a crappy file. It's a procedure that I heartily support, though it's also a pain in the ass: one three-ring binder constitutes a teaching portfolio, with tables of evaluation scores and grade ranges, sample syllabi and assignments, class observation write-ups, a statement of teaching philosophy, and anything else notable. The other binder holds copies of all the candidate's publications, fellowship award letters, book contracts (and/or correspondence related to same), along with a C.V., the past four years' annual reports, and narrative statements about research and service.
Basically, the application is an extremely long, heavily annotated C.V., with exhibits.
But although I was cursing the process for most of the long weekend that I spent revising and re-revising my tables of contents, printing out endless PDFs, and running back and forth to Staples to buy exhibit tabs and document sleeves, it's nice to have a tangible reminder of all the things we do that seem to melt into air: classes taught, papers given, thoughts thunk.
I found this to be especially true for my teaching. I have a C.V., after all, to remind me of everything I've published, and offprints stashed here and there. But tabulating all my evaluation scores and grade ranges, and deciding which assignments and handouts to include as representative samples of how I teach--that mysterious thing that we're always doing and thinking about without fully understanding--made me realize, with a start, that I actually do have a teaching profile and philosophy. There are things that I've decided to value and emphasize, across all my classes, without really knowing or planning it.
Better still, I like the teacher who emerges from these documents. She seems kinda awesome. Awesomer, in fact, than I am. (But maybe she'd be my friend?)