From 2018 UNIS will be a part of the same merit system for teaching as for the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Bergen. This was announced by the director Harald Ellingsen during this year’s Learning Forum at UNIS in October.
Teachers at UNIS from all four scientific departments will have the opportunity to get their pedagogical competence and efforts evaluated for the distinction Excellent Teaching Practitioner (ETP) by the Pedagogical Academy at UiB. The distinction is awarded to teachers that can document a systematic effort to develop their teaching and student learning, and that contribute to a scholarly and collegial teacher culture. Those awarded with the status as ETP become a member of the NM Faculty’s Pedagogical Academy at UiB, and will also get a rise in salary.
The ETP system will not replace other systems for career promotion or educational quality assurance and development, but represents a new way of acknowledging quality teaching and learning efforts. By awarding especially qualified and engaged teachers, UNIS signals that student learning and quality education is a prioritized area. For the individual teacher the system represents an opportunity to get quality work and pedagogical competence assessed and acknowledged.
The criteria for being awarded the distinction Excellent Teaching Practitioner has been carefully developed by a group of teachers, pedagogical experts and educational leaders from UiB and the MN-Faculty to ensure that the status rewards excellence in teaching and learning. Four main points are emphasized in the criteria:
- Focus on student learning
- Clear development over time
- A scholarly approach
- A collegial practice and attitude
The idea of rewarding excellence in teaching is based on clear intentions on a governmental and institutional level to give research and education equal status and attention in the scientific community. In the recently published White Paper on Educational quality merit systems are one of the mechanisms for developing a quality culture in higher education, and will be implemented at all Norwegian HEIs by 2019.
The merit system at the University of Bergen was initiated in 2016 as a pilot project lasting for five years, and is inspired by the Pedagogical Academy at Faculty of Engineering (LTH), Lund University in Sweden. bioCEED has been a driving force to establish the merit system for teaching with criteria based on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). The system at UiB is described in more detail here (Norwegian).