Quality of lecturers
Academic development is key to all university education. University lecturers stimulate students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and enthral and inspire them with academic content.
University lecturers fulfil their role in addition to conducting scientific research. Within our focus on teaching, they face a variety of specific educational challenges. Academic lecturers have to speak to a critical and intelligent audience. With increasing university intake levels, students have become a diverse group with a variety of backgrounds, levels of prior knowledge, motivations and ways of learning.
In addition, diverse teaching methods require diverse skills: delivering lectures to hundreds of students is different to overseeing small groups writing papers or one-on-one thesis supervision.
Finally, there are challenges in relation to the possibilities of digitisation. Examples here are blended learning, digital tests and collaborations with EdTech companies.
Learning on the job: University Teaching Qualification (UTQ)
The specific character of academic education requires ‘learning on the job’. An important part of increasing lecturers' professionalism in this respect is the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ), drawn up in collaboration with the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).
The UTQ is evidence of didactic competence of starting lecturers. It is a learn-work process in which applying educational knowledge and gaining experience are key. Assessment committees will assess the lecturer quality using a file or portfolio based on the UTQ competencies elaborated in the behavioural criteria. These mutually agreed competences can be found here.
Agreements about obtaining the UTQ are embedded in HR policy. In this respect, the UTQ forms an important element of the professional development and valuation of starting academic lecturers.
Of course, the professional development of lecturers doesn’t stop once they obtain the UTQ. Universities offer a variety of programmes and courses both before and after the UTQ, such as specialist courses, individual coaching, peer review, the Senior University Teaching Qualification (STQ) and the educational leadership course.