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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 advancing university pedagogy. Aarhus University is now starting to work on that.

Photo: Anders Trærup, AU Foto

You can also watch the video: Understand the framework in five minutes

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

The six sub-competencies are teaching/thesis supervision, assessment, and quality assurance related to individual competencies, and collaboration with students, collaboration with colleagues, and collaboration on quality assurance, 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 operative space: Teaching and education in practice

The collegial community: Teaching and education as a collegial community of practice

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.