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New teaching excellence programme at UiA

Candidates must document high quality student learning, clear development over time, a research approach and a collegial attitude. The Department of Engineering Sciences is the first out when UiA launches a pilot project for a new teaching excellence programme.

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illustration photo.

Illustrasjonsbilde. (Foto: Colourbox).

"We want to recognize and reward teachers who have systematically worked over time to develop their teaching, who have documented their activities and shared their experiences openly with others," said project manager Lisa Marie Whitehead. The teaching excellence programme is being developed as part of UiA's “Learning and Teaching for the Future” (LUF) strategic project area. 

Astrid Birgitte Eggen, portrettfoto

Astrid Birgitte Eggen. Foto: UiA.

"The goal of the teaching excellence programme is to increase the quality of teaching at the University of Agder and increase the value of education for the students," says Astrid Birgitte Eggen, Vice-Rector for Education at UiA who also sits on the steering board for LUF. 

Pilot at one institute

The pilot project will take place at the Department of Engineering Sciences at the Faculty of Engineering and Science. All academic staff from the department can apply, but they are required to have the UNIPED course or equivalent other basic pedagogical competence.

The first step is the application to participate on the project, and this is handled by a committee consisting of the Head of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (PULS), Gunnar Horn, the chair of MatRIC, Simon Goodchild, a student representative, as well as an external academic employee appointed by the Faculty. Workshops will also be held for candidates over the Spring.

Completed applications for teaching excellence should be delivered as a pedagogical folder or portfolio in June 2018. Here, candidates will need to document their motivations, experiences and reflections on their own practice and competences.

Lisa Marie Whitehead, portrettfoto

Lisqa Marie Whitehead. Foto: UiA.

"The applicant must explain their pedagogical choices made in their own teaching. The chosen examples should be justified, and candidates will need to elucidate and elaborate on topics and matters that appear as important from an educational perspective," Whitehead says.

Søknaden må også vise til bruk av digitale læremidler, arbeid med læringsmiljøet og ha uttalelser fra nærmeste leder, studenter, kolleger eller andre med innsyn i søkers undervisnings- og veiledningsarbeid.

Endelig søknad skal bedømmes av en komite bestående av interne og eksterne medlemmer. Minst to av medlemmene skal ha samme faglige bakgrunn som kandidaten, hvor en av dem er en merittert underviser og minst en skal ha fagdidaktisk bakgrunn. Det skal også være med studentrepresentant i komiteen. 

The application also needs to indicate use of digital learning materials, work on developing the learning environment, and statements from line managers, students, colleagues or other individuals who have insight into the applicant's teaching and guidance work.

Final applications will be assessed by a committee consisting of internal and external members. At least two of these members should have the same academic background as the candidate. One of these external members should be an excellent teacher themselves and at least one of the members should have a subject didactic background. There will also be a student representative on this evaluation committee.

Schedule and follow-up research

The pilot project will be conducted in Autumn 2017 and Spring 2018. The following Autumn, evaluation and internal consultation will be carried out, before the final teaching excellence programme can be passed by the UiA Board, during Autumn 2018.

"External researchers will follow the pilot project. In this way, we can draw the most relevant knowledge and experience from the project, which enables us to introduce a good teaching excellence programme throughout UiA as a whole," says Eggen.

Eggen also emphasizes how UiA has good open communication with other institutions in Norway, so that the sector can jointly learn how to best make good programmes for teaching excellence.

Criteria for Evaluation of Excellent teachers

1. Focus on the students' learning

  • The applicant has a clear focus on students 'learning and the students' learning environment in all their teaching activities.
  • The applicant has a conscious relationship to the link between teaching method, learning outcomes and assessment methods.
  • There is a clear and justified connection between the applicant's basic perceptions of teaching and learning.
  • The applicant has good relationships with their students, and asks for and responds constructively to student feedback.

2. A clear development over time

  • The applicant consciously and systematically strives to further develop the form and content of teaching to support students' learning.
  • The applicant has ideas about and plans for continued development work and further development of his / her own teaching skills and practice in the future.

3. A researching approach

  • The applicant actively uses the quality system for further development of his / her teaching.
  • The applicant plans, maps, evaluates and modifies his/her teaching practices regarding what and how one best support students' learning.
  • The applicant has a conscious relationship to the relationship between teaching method, assessment method, guidance and learning outcomes.
  • The applicant reflects on his / her own teaching activities considering university pedagogical theory and subject didactic knowledge.
  • The applicant conducts research-based education, both in terms of the fact that the academic content is based on up-to-date and current research in the subject area, and that students apply elements of the research process in their own learning work.

4. A collegial attitude with practice

  • The applicant shares experiences with others and interacts constructively with students and colleagues to develop teaching and teaching quality.
  • The applicant interacts with others through mutual exchange of experiences, for example in discussions, conferences and publications.
  • The applicant contributes towards fulfilling the institution's strategic objectives for education quality through the implementation of educational development and management assignments.
  • The applicant has initiated or led study plan work, pedagogical development work, collaborative project or research project related to the education itself.

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