Design and implementation of two measures aiming to improve the quality and increase the status of teaching at universities

Jens Dolin, Sofie Kobayashi

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


Quality teaching has always been on the agenda in higher education, but within the last decades an increased focus on students’ learning outcome and the requirements from employers have changed the perspective from a teacher responsibility to an organizational focus area. This shift has been supported by international initiatives and reports (European Commission, 2013; Hénard & Roseveare, 2012) and Danish higher education has also within the last years witnessed a series of reports advocating for various initiatives to improve the quality of teaching (Expert Committee, 2015). A central attention point in these reports, and an emphasized barrier for increased staff engagement in improving teaching, has been the relatively low status of teaching compared to research. University of Copenhagen is a research intensive university and research has always been the strongest currency. But better teaching became a central theme in the Strategy 2016 (University of Copenhagen, 2012), adopted in 2012, and this started a series of initiatives with the aim to improve the quality and increase the status of teaching. This presentation will analyse the design and implementation of two of these initiatives: A standard for teaching competence named a Pedagogical Competence Profile (PCP), and a Teaching Portfolio (TP) for all teaching staff. The design and implementation process A commission with skilled teachers and resource persons from each of the six faculties was appointed to design the PCP and have it broadly accepted at the university. A similar commission was appointed to design and implement the TP, demanding all teachers to have a TP by the end of 2016. The PCP commission based its work on some central principles: The enhancement of student learning should be at the centre of all elements in the competence profile, it has a broad understanding of teaching (including more than what happens in the classroom), it is not-normative, it is independent of job category, and it should be internationally compatible. The work was inspired by existing literature, e.g. the UK Professional Standards Framework (The Higher Education Academy, 2011) to secure international compatibility, plus invited resource persons from outside Denmark. The first version of the PCP was criticized in the hearings in relevant boards and steering committees, e.g. the central collaboration committee, leadership groups across faculties, study leader groups, and a revised version was designed and approved. The TP commission started with a literature review (Christiansen, Damlund, & Jacobsen, 2014) and developed a format for a common teaching portfolio that was tested by selected users representing all faculties and the different levels of teaching staff. They were group-wise asked to follow the PCP dimensions and to adjust the TP to various occasions: Applying to become a member of a (imaginative) teaching academy, preparing for the annual Performance and Development Review, applying for an academic position, presenting a course, and as an assignment for the Teaching Development Programme. The pilot testing led to replacing the original idea of a common format for an e-portfolio with a flexible TP adapted various occasions. After the PCP was backed by the leadership as a standard for teachers’ pedagogical competence the PCP and the TP have been presented together at workshops and conferences and the feedback has informed the ongoing implementation process of the TP. The work with designing and implementing the PCP and the TP is in many ways an ideal example on a combined top-down and bottom-up process. For securing organizational acceptance of these and future interventions we have therefore formulated the following Research question What barriers impede and what drivers support the design and implementing of the two measures Pedagogical Competence Profile and Teaching Portfolio at university? Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used You could label the whole design and implementation process for Organisational Action Research. The PCP and the TP have been continuously developed through an involvement from and interplay between the commissions and different levels at the university. In this respect the two commissions have interacted with many actors and boards at the university, have made them think and react and give feedback, and based on the feedback the commissions have revised their ideas. A variety of methods have been employed to collect data and to inform the process of designing and implementing the two measures. The data originating from the pilot testing of portfolio include the portfolios produced, notes from the feedback sessions, and the recorded focus group interviews. The questions and feedback we received from various committees and fora and conferences when presenting the TP and the PCP are regarded as field notes. Workshop with staff members at a university conference focused on expressing concerns and i...
Publikationsdato26 aug. 2016
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 26 aug. 2016


  • Uddannelse, professioner og erhverv