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Education policy

Increased focus on strengthening teaching competencies

On 1 January 2020, a new ministerial order on the job structure at Danish universities became effective. The order stipulates that the university is responsible for ensuring that all academic staff who teach will need to continuously acquire necessary pedagogical-didactic competencies throughout their careers. It is also specified that the university must have a plan for this. In continuation of this, Universities Denmark have worked on a joint national framework for recognising university pedagogical merit. Aarhus University is now starting to work on that.

[Translate to English:] Foto: Anders Trærup, AU Foto

The national framework for recognising the merit of teaching defines four competency levels; level 1-3 and a level called the ‘category for special educational tasks’. For each of the four competency levels, there are six sub-competencies.

The six sub-competencies are teaching, examinations, and evaluation related to individual competencies, and collaboration with students, collaboration with colleagues, and organisational collaboration on quality, which relates to collegial competencies.

The two competency dimensions make it clear that excellent teaching requires the educator to be competent and that teaching is developed in collaboration with colleagues. 

The didactic space for action

The collegial space for action

Four levels of competencies and educational tasks

The framework includes three levels of university pedagogical competencies and a category for special educational tasks.

  • Level 1 describes the entry-level for teaching staff. This could be, for example, student instructors and PhD students.
  • Level 2 describes the goal for the fixed-term academic staff working on a career path towards permanent tenure at the university. Level 2 corresponds to the competency level achieved through the University Pedagogical Programme for assistant professors, teaching assistant professors, and researchers.
  • Level 3 describes several different competency-development potentials for associate professors and professors who are expected to have achieved level 2.
  • The category for special educational tasks describes competency development for, for example, directors of studies, deputy heads of departments for teaching, or other members of the academic staff who undertake special duties within teaching, university pedagogy, development of study programmes, quality assurance, collaboration with the labour market, and the like.

Read more about the job structure and framework

We look forward to working with and implementing the framework at AU in A21 and 2022 together with the academic environments. The framework can help increase focus on the merits of teaching competencies at AU to the benefit of both students and staff.