Guidelines for Applying for Membership in Academy for Excellence in Education

Selection criteria are outlined by the membership selection committee and applicants and nominating colleagues should review this document Membership Selection Criteria. Nominations for potential membership into the Academy (by colleagues, departmental chair, or self-nominations) are solicited on a yearly basis and are assessed by the Membership Committee of the Academy. 

In an effort to help faculty members craft the strongest credentialing packet, a two-step application process will be utilized. 

Step 1

In the first step, applicants will be required to submit the following three items from the credentialing packet in a pdf format: 

  1. Cover sheet: A completed cover sheet (download pdf file and open in Adobe reader for a fillable form)
  2. Application/Nomination letter: A letter stating reasons you believe you are an appropriate candidate for the Academy, based on your areas of strength as defined under Membership Selection Criteria
  3. Curriculum Vitae: A CV in which you have highlighted your educational accomplishments

These materials should be sent via email to Cynthia Sims (cynthia.y.sims@vumc.org).  Following the review of the initial materials, applicants will be invited to submit the rest of their credentials for membership or will be asked to participate in an interview to review their potential application. 

Step 2

Upon being invited to submit a full credentialing packet, each candidate is responsible for assembling and submitting a completed educator portfolio and a reflective teaching statement, and soliciting at least 3 letters of recommendation. 

The full credentialing packet will consist of the step 1 documents together with the following three additional components in a pdf format:

  1. An Educator Portfolio
  2. A Reflective Teaching Statement
  3. Letters of Recommendation (minimum of 3 letters from faculty and no more than 6 – these may be part of the credentialing packet or may be submitted separately).

The contents of an educator's portfolio will vary among the candidates for membership. Nationally accepted categories of educational activities include teaching (with performance evaluations), advising/mentoring, educational administration, and education scholarship. Individuals who write the letters of recommendation will be varied depending on the venues where the candidate serves as an educator. One recommendation must be written by a teaching supervisor (a dean, program director, chair, course director). Other letters may be from educator peers who can attest to the level of excellence. In some cases, it may be appropriate to also include letters from former learners/mentees who can attest to the excellence of the candidate. It is expected that a candidate will have been serving as a faculty educator for a minimum of three years.

Membership Selection

The Membership Committee will convene, consider the credentials, and reach a decision about each candidate. Newly selected members will be notified in March. Each will be introduced and honored by their fellow Academy members at the annual Academy dinner in April that is held in conjunction with the Chapman/Flexner Speakership. A public announcement will be made during the General Spring Faculty meeting, followed by announcement in The Reporter and a posting on the Academy website. Once a faculty member is selected for Academy membership, they are expected to exert their educational leadership skills and contribute in a tangible and continuing manner to foster excellence in achieving the educational mission of VUSM. This will normally be achieved through service on the Academy's standing or ad hoc committees, participation in Academy Commons gatherings and Grand Rounds presentations along with continued active teaching roles in the individual's particular teaching niche(s).

Teaching (Educator's) Portfolio

The components of the teaching portfolio should be customized and not necessarily all inclusive. The purpose is to document the essential components of educator activities. A detailed review of the subject is available in Advancing Educators and Education: Defining the Components and Evidence of Educational Scholarship. A typical portfolio could include:

  1. Documentation of Sustained Teaching Related Activities 
    • lecture titles, small group topics, problem based learning scenarios, brief synopsis of responsibilities and roles in this learning activity, type of learner.
  2. Assessment of Teaching Effectiveness 
    • Student evaluations (3 years) - evidence of sustained excellence
    • Statements from learners or teaching colleagues addressing effectiveness as an educator
    • Demonstration of student learning - scores on standardized tests possibly in comparison to national norms, successful career progression by the learners
  3. Other Evidence of Creative or Exemplary Approaches 
    • Peer evaluations - direct observations
    • webcasting, podcasting
    • Website design: I-Idea
  4. Teaching Awards/Recognition 
    • Awards - Departmental, Institutional, National
    • Invitations (speakerships, workshops, invited articles)
    • Educational Consulting at the national level
  5. Educational Grants or Contracts (local or national)
  6. Educational Scholarship 
    • Citations of publications (original educational articles, MedEd Portal, manuscripts, books, videos)
    • Listings of abstracts, posters, oral presentations at meetings, invited seminars, etc.
  7. Educational Training 
    • Degree programs
    • CME credits, workshops
  8. Other Contributions to the Teaching Profession 
    • Design or revision of curriculum and educational materials
    • Service on teaching related committees

Vanderbilt's standard format for educator portfolios is available as an option ELECTRONIC TEACHING PORTFOLIO. The Membership Committee allows the use of other educator portfolio formats. Candidates for Academy membership are referred to national standards and examples that have been published by

Reflective Teaching Statement

The purpose of the Reflective Teaching Statement is to convey a brief statement showcasing your teaching philosophy, strategies and objectives. Describe your teaching goals for the next few years. Share your vision of why and where you wish to serve as a member of the Academy for Excellence in Teaching. Keep it brief (1-2 pages).

Letters of Recommendation

Each candidate should identify at least 3 individuals at the faculty and/or supervisor level who can attest to his/her teaching activities, excellence as an educator, honors and accomplishments. Recommendations and any materials should be submitted to:

Recommendations, completed electronic portfolios and all ancillary materials should be submitted to:

Cynthia Sims
Office for Continuous Professional Development
cynthia.y.sims@vumc.org 
(615) 936-1761

Examples - Ambulatory Pediatrics Association AAMC (Word)