Guide for applicants and members of expert committees on documentation, assessment and weighting of qualifications
Part 1 Qualification profile
At the University of Oslo (UiO), a qualification profile has been approved that aims to show the breadth of the type of qualifications to be assessed for appointment to academic positions and to clarify the weighting of the different types of qualifications that are included in this profile.
The purpose of this qualification profile is
- to emphasise that UiO is dependent on the institution's academic staff having qualifications for the wide range of activities required by a university,
- that this is expressed in the criteria applied in assessing those who are appointed to such positions, and
- that the individual employee is given credit for the effort they make and the results they achieve throughout the breadth of their activities at the university.
Below are specified the six areas in which UiO requires qualifications for applications to an academic position:
- Academic qualifications
- Other professional qualifications
- Educational qualifications
- Dissemination qualifications
- Management and administration qualifications
- Personal qualifications
Within each qualification area, subpoints are specified in the Rules for appointment to professorships and Associate Professor positions Section 9 that are intended to be an exemplification and clarification of the qualifications that are relevant for that particular area. The basis of Rules for appointment to Professorship and Associate Professor positions at UiO are the general criteria for appointment in Chapter 1 of the Regulations for appointment and promotion in teaching- and research positions. In Chapter 2 of the Regulations (promotion rules) it is stipulated that the criteria in Chapter 1 shall be applied when assessing competence promotion.
1.1.1 On appointment
In the ranking of applicants, the entire breadth of qualifications will be included and be assessed explicitly. The Expert Committee normally considers the first five areas, while personal qualifications are primarily assessed by means of interview and reference interview. Trial lecture may be used to assess the applicant’s educational qualifications.
1.1.2 On promotion
For competence promotion, the assessment is primarily based on academic, other professional and educational qualifications. It should be assessed whether the applicant fulfils the academic/professional and educational qualifications required to be competent for a Professor position, or equivalent for the other position categories. Qualifications in dissemination, administration and management can have a positive score, whereas personal qualifications are not assessed for promotion.
1.2 Basic competencies
Requirements have been introduced at UiO for individuals who are appointed to permanent academic positions to document two types of basic competence. “Competence” is used here in respect of the formal statement that the person in question satisfies the applicable requirements for a position level. Qualifications means here the actual qualifications that the individual holds in different areas.
- Basic academic competence
- Basic university pedagogical competence
Limitations to basic competence within one of these qualification areas cannot be compensated by qualifications beyond the basic competence in the other area.
For appointment to a position as Professor, in addition to the two basic competencies, the applicant is required to document qualifications beyond the customary performance of responsibilities at the Associate Professor level within either the dissemination qualifications or the qualifications in administration and management. "Beyond" will, in this context, demonstrate in part that the scope of such activity is greater than that which is considered usual for intermediate group positions in the academic environment and in part that the quality of the activity and the results from it are clearly higher than usual. This assessment must be based on a certain discretion and a knowledge of the academic environment with which the position is associated.
1.2.1 Basic academic competence
Associate Professor: Doctoral degree or equivalent.
Professor: Substantial academic production in excess of that which is required for a doctoral degree. The research must be of high quality and demonstrate both breadth and depth. The production shall reflect an independent research profile and demonstrate the ability to address new problems. Sustained research activity is a prerequisite for the granting of professor competence. The basic requirement for being able to be awarded competence for a professorship is documented academic/artistic qualifications at the level of international and national standards for professorships in the relevant subject area.
1.2.2 Basic university pedagogical competence
Basic university pedagogical competence consists of the following elements:
Through own teaching/supervising and completed university pedagogical education (minimum 200 hours) the following competencies shall be developed and documented:
- Basic competencies in planning, implementation, evaluation and development of teaching and academic supervision
- Be able to reflect on their own role and discuss and justify their own choices in planning, implementation and development of teaching and academic supervision
- Be able to found their university pedagogical competence in the SoTL criteria:
- Focus on student learning
- A clear development over time
- A researching approach
- A collegial attitude and practice
How university pedagogical competence can be founded on the SoTL criteria is further described in Section 2.2.
"Basic competencies" means that individuals can adopt the most common teaching and supervision methods and have the competencies required for good planning and necessary further development, as well as being able to understand, justify, and assess their teaching based on their own and others' experiences, preferably with reference to relevant research.
1.2.3 Additional qualifications for Professors
All applicants must satisfy the requirements for academic and basic university pedagogical competence as specified under Points 1.2.1 and 1.2.2.
For professorships in addition to basic university pedagogical competence as described above, the following are required to be documented:
- A wide range of competencies in planning, implementation, and evaluation of teaching
- Broad experience from academic supervision, preferably at Master/PhD level
- A wide range of competencies in systematic development work related to teaching and academic supervision
- Efforts, leadership and cooperation in own academic environment related to work on education quality
A "wide range of competencies" suggests both a greater scope and a higher level of competencies than "basic competence". However, the range of competencies must be seen in the light of the tasks available over time in the academic environment in which one is employed. In addition, applicants for a position as a Professor must document qualifications beyond the usual performance of required duties in a lower-level position within either dissemination qualifications or management and administration qualifications.
Part 2 For applicants - structure of application and documentation
2.1 Structure of application
An application for an academic position will normally include the following parts:
- An application that accounts for the applicant's education and practice as well as reasons for applying for the position
- Copies of diplomas and certificates documenting this.
- A CV that shows in more detail the applicants’ education and what they have been working on. "Other professional qualifications" are referred to herein and documented either in the form of diplomas/certificates (see above) or specialist publications (see below)
- A list of scientific/academic publications
- A selection of a (limited) number of these publications that applicants believe document in the best way possible their academic/professional qualifications. The number required will usually be specified in the announcement.
- Any project descriptions etc. that document research planning, research management and research that creates a positive environment, statements of specialist competence, referee activity etc. and an overview of assessment work
- An educational portfolio, providing a total and systematic presentation of the applicant's educational competence
- Statement and documentation of qualifications in dissemination, administration and management
2.2 General about documentation of different qualifications
It is the applicant's responsibility to document their qualifications in the areas required by the rules in a manner that allows the Expert Committee to make correct decisions regarding the competence of the individual in question.
The assessment of the various qualification areas will be based on documentation that makes it possible to take a position on their quality. Below is a detailed description with examples of what may be covered by the different qualification areas. Emphasis is placed on formulating the examples so that they relate to activities and results of such qualifications, and not to "capabilities" or "prerequisites." This is in line with the practice for assessing academic qualifications, whereby also the results of the qualifications are applied to the assessment.
It may be appropriate to build up documentation of your own qualifications as follows:
- Descriptions of activities and results
- Documentation that exemplifies and supports the descriptions, and
- Reflection on one's own activity and qualifications
One should endeavour to highlight what one has done, why one has worked in this way and what results one believes it has given.
Description, documentation and reflection should demonstrate what one has done and achieved in the various areas as well as quality, development and breadth in the activity and results. It would also be natural when applying for a position at UiO to try and relate one’s qualifications to the institution's commitments in the relevant areas.
2.2.1 Other professional qualifications
Specialist competence in line with established specialist programmes in the subject area (e.g. in medicine and odontology), clinical qualifications, museum work, qualification for other professional activities. This point aims at qualifications one has acquired as a professional in various areas (medicine, odontology, psychology, law, teaching, ICT, journalism, film, music, etc.). It is the intention that the formulation should not be construed in any way other than that it should relate to qualifications that may be relevant for work in the position for which one is applying. Please note that it is clarified in the comment that it may also relate to artistic activities, where relevant.
Assessment work for appointments and assessment for degrees This is an activity in which skilled professionals are often used and which therefore indicates a professional qualification. Please provide an overview of such activities and provide examples (anonymised examples).
Activity as a referee/reviewer of academic/scientific journals Also applies to editorial work or participation in an editorial group or similar. Describe, document with copies of journal front pages and/or provide examples of referee statements or reviews.
Textbooks, exhibitions and catalogues. Here it may relate to printed materials and exhibitions in the traditional sense, but also to digital versions of such. It may also be appropriate to refer to (and exemplify) databases, software or similar digital products one has developed or contributed to. These will often be able to be made available to the assessment committee via references to URLs where they exist.
Contributions to innovation based on research and academic development work. Contributions to the development of innovations of different types used in society, including inventions, patents, software, models, etc.
2.2.2 Educational qualifications
It is recommended that educational qualifications be documented systematically by means of an educational portfolio. An educational portfolio should include the following items:
- An "educational CV", which provides a concise description of the applicant's experience in planning, implementation and evaluation and development of teaching and supervision, including scope and level
- Documentation of cited conditions
- Be able to reflect on their own role as a teacher, and discuss and justify their own choices in planning, implementation and development of teaching and supervision
The educational portfolio should not be too comprehensive, and as a rule, a scope corresponding to 3-6 pages plus attached documentation will be sufficient. If a different scope requirement is specified in the announcement text, this requirement will apply. Also the attachments should be limited to cover the most central points with representative examples.
UiO assesses academic qualifications based on criteria set out in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, SoTL:
- Focus on student learning
- A clear development over time
- A researching approach
- A collegial attitude and practice
Applicants are expected to associate their own experiences and reflections with these criteria.
For example, a focus on student learning can be documented by the applicant clarifying how students' learning processes are believed to act within a given subject area, and then associate those assumptions with their own practice. This may also be documented by systematically discussing the relationships between your own teaching design and the implications for student learning. Moreover, it may be expressed through documentation of the applicant’s active and conscious work in the development of their own teaching in which the use of students' evaluation of teaching is conducted in a systematic and constructive manner.
For example, a clear development over time can be expressed through descriptions and justification of how the applicant's own teaching practices have developed, and the principles, reflections, and practical experiences that have been central to this development.
A researching approach can, for example, be documented through the description of the extent to which the applicant is concerned about systematically studying how their own teaching or basic unit educational provision functions, why it functions in this way, and what can be done within existing frameworks to create optimal learning opportunities for the students. In such a reflection one may also draw upon research-based knowledge of, for example, learning and teaching in higher education in general or in one’s own subject area in particular.
A collegial attitude and practice, for example, can be documented through descriptions of collegial collaboration related to teaching observation/supervision, collective development processes related to revision of courses or programmes, or more informal interactions with colleagues related to teaching and mentoring for newly qualified teachers. Here, for example, it will be possible to emphasise your own contribution to a broader academic environment, or illustrate how to draw on the experience and expertise of colleagues in developing their own teaching qualifications.
The following list specifies both documentation areas and methods that can be used to document educational qualifications. We would emphasise that the list has many points because it should exemplify alternative means of documentation, not because each point should be covered. The assessment should be conducted on an overall basis.
- University pedagogical education. Approved education corresponding to, and possibly in addition to, the requirement for basic university pedagogical competence, shall be described. Other education with pedagogical relevance may also be included. It is important to highlight whether/how such education has led to results in the form of reinforced/changed understanding and practice as a university teacher.
Examples of documentation: Diplomas, course certificates, assignments or reports from such education.
- Educational activity. The applicant's own work with planning, assessing and developing their own lessons. Teaching, mentoring, exam work, educational management, development/testing of various forms of teaching materials (digital learning resources and learning environments, compendium, flexible learning programmes, etc.), development of new teaching methods, active use of IT competence in education and evaluation. It is important to emphasise variations in teaching methods, quality and development of the activity, not just scope. Work on planning, evaluation and change in these areas and justifications for the work method should be discussed. Work with ongoing evaluation of own teaching (with the help of colleagues, students, etc.) should be discussed. Results of such evaluation (summarised and with specific examples as attachments) should be included, preferably with an emphasis on the consequences of the evaluation for further work. Any participation in evaluations of education/education quality at one’s own or other institutions should be commented and documented.
Examples of documentation: Examples of course plans, course descriptions, examination question papers etc. that the applicant has been responsible for. Any service statements. Examples of how student evaluations have been used in their own academic environment over time as a resource in teaching plans and implementation.
- Study administration, participation in report- and development work. Participation in boards, committees, bodies, associations, editorial groups, etc. related to studies and teaching. Work with quality of education and contribution to the development of an active digital learning environment. Study plan development/revision, projects one has initiated/led/contributed with and that are intended to develop, improve and digitise their own or the institution’s educational activities through experiments, evaluation and research-like measures that are often reported. It is important to highlight why the work was initiated and what it led to. Participation in educational research, experimental or development work and/or efforts in joint pedagogical competence building within one’s own academic environment should be documented.
Examples of documentation: Account of experimental/development work. Examples of evaluation and how further development has taken place on the basis of such evaluation. Appointment, reports, recommendations, journals.
- Development of teaching materials, including digital learning resources. The documentation should be concentrated on teaching materials that assisted in users’ learning, more than about textbooks (used as teaching materials). If the applicant has a large production of textbooks and teaching materials, only a representative selection should be given together with a summary list.
Examples of documentation: Textbooks, compendia, assignment collections, illustration material/models, video materials, study guides, popular science teaching materials, overview (with link) of online resources you have developed or contributed to the development of: such as blogs, diagnostic tests, MOOCs, etc.
- Participation in/contribution to conferences etc. of a pedagogical or academic didactic character or as author/referee/member of editorial staff of academic didactic journals. In this context, it may be appropriate to mention any publications of an educational or academic didactic character, or guest lectures on such topics that one has held at other institutions.
- If one has received awards or other acknowledgment for part of one’s educational activities, these should be mentioned and any accompanying justifications should be documented.
In the reflection about what is described and documented it is important to clarify how one thinks about one’s own – and the institution's – educational activities, how one views learning, teaching, students, etc. in a way that can help explain and justify the way in which the activity has been conducted and developed in the context in which one has worked. The reflection should cover the SoTL criteria, but the weighting between the four criteria may vary based on the level and functions of the position. It is usual to give a brief account of one's own learning vision. It will also be natural to give an account of the degree to which one works alone or collaborates with others in this part of one’s work — and why. Of particular interest to the basic unit where one will work will be what plans one has for further development of its educational activities and the qualifications for this, and what development areas one sees for oneself in this field.
2.2.3 Dissemination qualifications
Education for external activities (courses in research dissemination, media contact, research journalism etc.), should be mentioned here. It is also important to mention the implications the education has had for one's further work in this area.
Types, scope, and frequency of such dissemination should be mentioned and examples attached. This relates to dissemination outside of one’s own academic environment, i.e. to groups that are not themselves experts in the area. Depending on the field of study, this can take place in various ways e.g. through books, articles, interviews, media participation, exhibitions, ”Open Days” etc., both locally, nationally and internationally.
For some subjects, technical or literary translation work will be included under this point. In other subjects, artistic practice may also be applicable.
Participation in current public debate and contribution to highlighting issues that have a prominent place in the media – or contribution to putting important issues on the agenda – are significant contributions to the university's external activity, and should be mentioned and documented.
It may also be natural here to document one's participation in (or management of) public report work in the role of specialist. The same applies to professional participation in the work of voluntary organisations.
If one has received awards or other acknowledgement for part of one’s external activities, these should naturally be mentioned and any accompanying justifications should be documented.
The reflection in this area should document one's own understanding of the nature and significance of this work, how one works, and why one works in this way and the experience one has gained from this part of the work as an academic employee. It will also be of significance to account for further plans in this area and for how one could imagine developing one’s competence in this field.
2.2.4 Management and administration qualifications
Education for management tasks, especially in the field of higher education and research, whether in formal educational units or as more short-term courses, should be mentioned and documented here. It is important that the consequences of such education for one's work in the area of management and administration are emphasised.
Practice in functions that involve management: head of a unit, representative of a governing body, work in a position/function which entails the management of a sector of the unit's activity (e.g. head of a programme of study), management or participation in working groups and similar responsibilities outside higher education should be mentioned. It is important that you clarify your own role, responsibilities and results of such work
The reflection over this type of activity should be linked to how one sees one’s own role and responsibilities in this part of the work as an academic employee, the experience one has gained as a result of the work one has participated in, one's intentions with such work, how one has attempted to realise these and what one believes to have accomplished. Of particular interest will be how one wants to relate to such management tasks in the future and how one will further develop one’s qualifications for them.
Section 3 For the Expert Committee - assessment and weighting of qualifications
Applicants are entitled to an unbiased and fair treatment at every stage of the administrative procedure, including the experts’ assessment.
The objective of the expert assessment is to form the basis for the further processing of the appointment case in the university's bodies. The Expert Committee should therefore do no more than fulfil the real purpose, namely to provide the basis for the further administrative procedure at the university.
3.2 Assessment method
In its assessment of the applicants the Expert Committee, in accordance with the Rules for appointment to professorships and Assistant Professor positions Section 9 letter f) "(...), shall identify a limited number of applicants who, according to the job description, are found to be better qualified than the rest”. The expert committee shall give an opinion on what differentiates the selected applicants from the others, and a brief mention must therefore be given of all applicants and their qualifications. This mention should be concise. The mention of the limited number of applicants who are found to be better qualified than the rest shall be a more comprehensive and overall assessment and take account of the different qualification areas. In the case of an applicant who is not included in the "limited number", the Expert Committee has no obligation to take a stand as to whether the person in question is qualified for the position.
It is usual for members of the expert committee to distribute the applicants between themselves, so that each committee member has primary responsibility for certain applicants and for writing a mention of these. This should not result in applicants being assessed according to different standards and criteria. The Committee can decide itself whether the Committee's chairperson should record the entire assessment in writing based on input from the different members. A unanimous assessment will nonetheless be a collective product regardless of which solution is selected.
3.3 Assessment and weighting of different types of qualifications
Expert Committees normally only take into consideration the following qualification areas:
"Personal qualifications" may, however, be taken into consideration by the Expert Committee if the material that the Committee has access to provides the basis for this. Otherwise, these will be first taken into consideration by the recommending and appointing authorities. We would also point out that the various qualification areas may also be subject to supplementary assessment once the expert assessment has been made, for example by means of a trial lecture and interview.
It is important to note that personal qualifications may have decisive significance in the appointment case based on an unbiased justification. It should therefore be clarified in the announcement/job description what is expected in the way of personal qualifications.
It is the applicant's responsibility to document their own competence in a manner that provides the best basis for an unbiased, qualitative assessment. Similarly, the expert committee is required to give an explicit statement of the basis for the assessment, criteria and conclusions in accordance with this guide.
The expert committee should first decide in respect of the individual applicant whether the person satisfies the requirements for each of the "academic" and "basic university pedagogical" competencies, respectively. For professorships, corresponding consideration must be given as to whether the applicant meets the educational additional requirements. Only if an applicant satisfies both of these requirements, is the person in question competent for the position. The Committee must give an explicit opinion of the applicant's competence in each of these two main areas.
Please note in particular that the requirement for intermediate group positions on basic university pedagogical competence does not need to be met on appointment, but can be fulfilled during the first two years after appointment. For appointment to professorships, an opportunity may be given in special cases to meet the requirement within the first two years after appointment.
Thereafter, the Committee should form a picture of the qualifications (beyond the basic competence) that the individual applicant has documented within the different qualification areas.
In assessing and comparing these qualifications, emphasis should be placed on the quality, i.e. how good or strong are the qualifications that the applicants have documented. This shall also be seen in relation to the eligibility requirements included in the announcement and detailed description of the position
Academic and educational qualifications should in principle be assessed in the same manner. Both areas require documentation and assessment in respect of explicit criteria.
Assessment of educational competence is discussed in detail in Point 3.3.1. In respect of the other qualification areas, emphasis should be placed on
- whether the activity and the results cited as expressions of such qualifications are satisfactorily described and that they are documented through specific examples.
- whether the applicant through his presentation of, and reflection over, this material shows insight into the areas discussed, and conducts himself/herself in an experimental and appraising manner in respect of their own practice in light of knowledge in the field,
- whether the material shows the quality, development and breadth of the qualifications described – prioritised in this order.
In order to develop criteria and assessment methods further, it is important that the individual Expert Committee itself explicitly clarifies its criteria and their use so that this can be included in the work of clarification and further development of such a guide.
The rules for appointment to professorships and Associate Professor positions indicate that the entire breadth of qualifications should be included and assessed, but unless otherwise stated, academic qualifications will be emphasised ahead of other academic and other qualifications. Educational qualifications, unless otherwise stated in the announcement text, will be given priority over qualifications within the areas of dissemination, administration and management.
Beyond this, the rules do not indicate any specific ratios in the ranking weighting. Weighting should be made through a qualitative overall assessment.
3.3.1 More detailed information on assessment of educational qualifications
Applicants document their educational qualifications through an educational portfolio, consisting of a "pedagogical CV", documentation of cited conditions and reflection.
Educational qualifications include, among other things, knowledge and skills in the planning, implementation and assessment of teaching. Such qualifications are demonstrated partly in the teacher's "own" teaching, but also in the work of facilitating the learning opportunities of their own basic unit, and through support and stimulus to colleagues in their teaching work. The qualifications may also be expressed through research and development work concerning study and teaching conditions as well as in popularisation and information activities.
Teaching cannot be solely assessed as technical excellence, as is the case with research. It is also qualifying to be able to justify and reflect on one’s teaching practice in light of relevant pedagogical and subject didactic theory and systematised experience.
All requirements for educational competence requirements shall be grounded in the SoTL criteria:
- Focus on student learning
- A clear development over time
- A researching approach
- A collegial attitude and practice
The weighting of the different SoTL criteria may vary according to the level and functions of the position.
The SoTL criteria must not be directly referred to by the applicant, but may be shown indirectly, for example, through clear descriptions of the applicant's learning vision, and especially through the connection between such descriptions and the practice documented by the applicant. Reference is made to Point 2.2.2 for examples of how the different SoTL criteria can be documented.
The quality of the applicant's teaching work should be given greatest weight in the assessment of educational competence. For example, care should be taken to consider whether the applicant can document achieved results, can refer to practical teaching skills and the quality of the applicant's reflection and academic approach to educational qualifications. Reference is made to Point 2.2.2 for examples of documentation of educational competence.
A certain scope of practice from teaching work is necessary for documenting qualifications. Long teaching experience is given increased importance when it has also been documented that a development has occurred in the quality of the teaching.
Breadth or variation in educational experience should be attributed some emphasis in the assessment and may include that the applicant
- has taught different target groups (also outside of university/university college)
- has experience from several institutions
- is familiar with varied teaching methods
- has participated in various forms of educational activities (e.g. mentoring for newly qualified teachers, study administration, assessment work, course activities, learning materials development, development work etc.) in addition to ordinary teaching.
In academic terms, teaching at a high level of study may set greater requirements for qualifications, but from an educational point of view there is not necessarily the same relationship between the level of study and eligibility requirements. Experience from multi-level teaching in universities and university colleges may be given emphasis if it is relevant for the position to be filled.
Some other qualifications may also be mentioned as being valuable in assessing the applicant's pedagogical competence:
- Independence, dedication and initiative
- Interpersonal skills and contribution to collegial sodality
- Documentation of development in their own work as a university teacher.
3.3.2 More detailed information in respect of assessment of qualifications in dissemination, administration and management
Documentation of quality in an activity assumes a certain scope and a certain variation in the activity. However, scope and/or variation is not in itself an adequate characteristic of quality. It is the quality of the activity that is documented that must be central to the assessment. This can be demonstrated through practice that is assessed by the applicant him/herself and by others (colleagues, students, third parties) to be satisfactory, good, excellent or exceptional, and where such assessments are strengthened by documented examples of the activity being described. However, what is also important is that the applicant through the reflections contained in the application
- can demonstrate their own awareness and understanding of their activity,
- can demonstrate and explain the development of this activity over time,
- can show the connection between their more general views and the practice that they have conducted
In this lies the fact that there is not one specific form of conduct of the activity that is being pursued and which will be considered as qualitatively good. On the contrary, it concerns a way of relating to the activity that is characterised by systematic study and reflection related to the deliberate use of academic and experience-based knowledge.
It would also be reasonable for the expert committee to include in its assessment the plans that applicants have for further development of their own practice and qualifications in those areas. This must also be viewed in relation to the needs accounted for in the job description.