Earlier this month UiB announced that Christian Jørgensen from the Department of Biological Sciences at UiB and Pernille Bronken Eidesen from the Arctic Biology Department at UNIS were awarded Excellent Teaching Practitioner (ETP) status. A total of 11 applicants applied in the second call for application to the Pedagogical Academy at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (MatNat). A significant novelty in this round was that teaching staff from all four scientific departments at UNIS was also invited to send applications along with teaching staff at MatNat UiB. Since last year UNIS became a part of the merit system for teaching at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, UiB (read more here).
For more information about the ETP award, read the press release from UiB and UNIS below.
8 April 2019
Press release from the University Centre in Svalbard (translated to English)
Here are our excellent teaching practitioners
Read the original text in Norwegian here.
Pernille Bronken Eidesen (UNIS) and Christian Jørgensen (UiB) both receive the status Excellent teaching practitioner. Eidesen says it is a great honor to become an excellent teacher, and she feels a collegial responsibility
Associate Professor Pernille Bronken Eidesen in Arctic Biology at UNIS is also associated with bioCEED. She says it is a great honor to become an Excellent teaching practitioner (ETP), and she feels a collegial responsibility.
– I have had good colleagues – and students – who have shown the way and been sparring partners for different ideas. It is part of the criteria that one should have a collegial practice and attitude, and that requirement I will take even more seriously than earlier, says Eidesen.
– First and foremost it is nice to be recognized by the educational community, and that people who are much better than me have faith in the thoughts I have about teaching and development I succeed with. Secondly, I wish the title was invisible: I am afraid it follows with extra expectations that my teaching should be fun and spectacular, while it often is the quite boring things that have good effect on learning, says Christian Jørgensen.
He is a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, and one of the two new Excellent teaching practitioners.
The applicants who want to become Excellent teaching practitioners are evaluated by a committee. In the application, the teachers must document and describe their own teaching practice towards four main criteria (see fact box).
In 2017, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen established a merit system for teaching. The teachers selected receive the status of Excellent teaching practitioner, and become members of the Pedagogical Academy. (See fact box for more) Since 2018, the Faculty has collaborated with the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) on the merit system.
Creates joy through learning
Eidesen will give the students their “aha” experiences, to see the context and experience the joy of actually understanding something.
– I work best in interaction with the students. I am not judged to be particularly good at lecturing, but am more focused on facilitating learning processes, where the students themselves ask questions and discover connections. I am probably more concerned with understanding than of detailed knowledge, she says.
She has also received support from the Olav Thon Foundation, for a development project on student-active teaching in the field.
Focuses on the students’ learning
In 2015, Jørgensen received the University of Bergen Learning Environment Prize, where the students themselves nominate the teachers. He has also received an award from the Olav Thon Foundation for excellent teaching. Despite praise from both the students and the committee, he says that he does not always like to teach. – I am an introvert and become nervous, and I am utterly worn out afterwards. Despite this, he says he focuses on the result: the students’ learning.
– I calculated that if I teach 100 students poorly in a lecture then I throw away 200 working hours for them. If I instead give lessons from which they learn quickly, I may be able to help them save 2 hours weekly. Altogether, my work in a two-hour teaching session can correspond to 10 working weeks for resourceful young people in their most productive age.
This is a challenge he takes seriously.
– Fortunately, there is a wealth of literature on pedagogy with measurable effect. I try to think carefully about what I do and why, and always look for new ways to make it clearer for the students what they should understand. Along with clear feedback on their achievements, I hope that the students will have a good starting point to learn.
Members of the Pedagogical Academy
These excellent teaching practitioners become a part of the Pedagogical Academy. The purpose is to raise the quality of education at the Faculty through a collegial and collaborative teaching and learning culture. In co-operation with the Faculty, they manage funds for educational development activities.
– I look forward to discussions across disciplines. I hope that it will inspire further work on excellent teaching, and that together we can get more to see the benefits of working with teaching in the same way that we work with research, says Eidesen.
Jørgensen hopes that the Pedagogical Academy will make it easier to get the attention of those who make decisions that have consequences for classroom pedagogy in the university sector.
– I am concerned with institutional rules and routines that hinder effective learning, and I currently have a focus on the meaning of grades and appeal rules for learning and resource use. He says that he has a good network of enthusiastic colleagues at UiB who work for excellent teaching.
– It is often easier to make changes if one talks to the right people in the administration or bureaucracy, but they are often difficult to identify and come into contact with, especially outside your own institution. Hopefully, the Pedagogical Academy will be a place to discuss ideas to sort what should be pursued, and at the same time open doors to the right people inside and outside UiB, the teacher says.
Excellent Teaching Practitioners (ETP)
- As the first institution in Norway, the MatNat Faculty at University of Bergen established a merit system for teaching in 2017.
- Teachers who receive the status join the Pedagogical Academy, and will contribute to a collegial teaching culture.
- The teacher receives NOK 50,000 in salary increase.
- The criteria covers the full educational activity, including teaching, supervision, planning, and evaluation.
The criteria for evaluation:
- Focus on students’ learning
- Clear development over time
- A scholarly approach
- Collegial attitude and practice