Faculty of Humanities

Guidelines for the evaluation of applicants for professorships and professorial promotion

Adopted at the National Faculty Meeting for the Humanities on 27 November 2006 with amendments adopted on 3 May 2007, 13 September 2013 and 19 December 2013.

In addition to these guidelines, the following documents form the basis for the work of the committee:

  • Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts laid down by the Ministry of Education and Research, 9 February 2006
  • ”Veiledende retningslinjer for søknad og vurdering av søknad om personlig opprykk til professor etter kompetanse” (Recommendatory guidelines for applications and assessment of applications for professorial promotion by qualifications), Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions, 20 August 2008
  • The advertisement for the post and detailed description.

The applicant is responsible for documenting all aspects of his/her competence in the application.

The committee’s chairperson/administrator has the responsibility for ensuring that the committee’s statement is formulated in compliance with these guidelines. The committee’s assessment in the case of appointments must normally be made available within three months of the date of the appointment.

The members of the National Faculty Meeting for the Humanities place considerable weight on achieving a national standard for the quality criteria that shall be set for professorial appointments and professorial promotion. At present both appointments and promotions are decided by the institutions in which the appointments and promotions are to be made. The institutions that are members of the Faculty Meeting expect that their steering bodies and individuals from the member institutions who are appointed as assessors base their decisions on these guidelines.

Research in the humanities is complex, as it should be. Therefore the national standard must not be perceived as rigid. However, adhering to the expectations regarding quality, breadth and specialization that are emphasized in these guidelines will greatly benefit the humanities environment in Norway.

1.1.    Academic activity
A professorial appointment or promotion based on academic competence must be grounded on the assessment of documented academic results. This demands a considerable academic production beyond that which is required for a doctoral degree. Research shall be of high quality and shall demonstrate both breadth and specialization. Continuous research activity is a prerequisite. The publications that are to be taken into consideration in the application must normally be peer-reviewed. International activities (for example conference lectures, publications or participation in professional networks) are normally required. To be awarded competence as a professor, the applicant must be evaluated in relation to international or national standards for such posts in the relevant subject area (cf. Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts no. 129, 9 February 2006, section 1-2, paragraph 1.) A national standard is described here.

To achieve competence in the subject area described in the advertised post, or in the subject area in which the applicant is employed when applying for the post, he/she must satisfy the general requirements for academic specialization mentioned above. The subject area is defined in the advertisement or in the post description. For applications for professorial promotion, the evaluation shall be based on the advertisement or description that applies to the post held by the applicant or on an updated description of the position, if relevant.

1.2.    Documentation requirements
The applicant must document both specialization and academic breadth in his/her production. For recognition of professorial competence, a body of academic work must be demonstrated that in quality, depth and volume corresponds to two doctoral theses in different fields relevant to the advertised post or, when applying for promotion, to the applicant’s subject area. This includes the doctoral thesis on which associate professor competence is based. If the applicant has considerable academic production in a related subject area and a command of scientific methodology that can clearly be applied in this field, requirements for production in the specific subject can to some extent be reduced.

This will normally entail at least eight to ten lengthy articles or two to three monographs. Considerable emphasis shall be placed on international activities and publication. Academic breadth can also be documented in that part of the applicant’s production that lies outside the works (up to 15 when applying for professorial promotion)  that have been submitted for evaluation. Works of popular science and other methods of dissemination, e.g. textbooks and other subject literature, count in a favourable direction in the overall evaluation, but do not compensate for a lack of purely academic works.

When evaluating works of joint authorship, i.e. publications with more than one author, each of the authors must be given credit for the quality and depth of the work, but the scope of the work as a whole must, if necessary, be distributed among the various authors. This applies to works of joint authorship where there is no mention of each author’s specific contribution.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit documentation that provides a basis for a qualitative assessment of the applicant’s academic competence.

A complete list of the applicant’s academic works shall accompany the application. The applicant shall point out which works – up to 15 for applications for professorial promotion  – he/she deems most important in his/her production. These works are to be submitted for assessment. The remainder of the production can also be assessed, in particular with a view to whether the applicant possesses sufficient professional breadth. The evaluation committee can therefore, if necessary, request that supplementary works be submitted.

The works submitted shall normally be peer-reviewed and published through approved channels, whether periodicals, publishers or internet publication. In exceptional cases, unpublished works can be submitted but must be accompanied by a special justification for this. A distinction is made between unpublished works that have been accepted for publication or are in the publication process, and works that the author has retained for a long period without them being assessed or accepted for publication.

In order to achieve professorial competence on the basis of artistic qualifications, the applicant must document extensive artistic activities at the highest level conforming to international standards and relevant breadth and specialization at the highest level of the subject or disciplines.

2.1.     Artistic activities
In order to achieve recognized competence in the subject area for which the position has been advertised or in the subject area in which the applicant is employed, when applying for promotion (as stated in the advertisement and the description of the post), the applicant must fulfil the general requirements for specialization within the subject area in question as mentioned above. In the case of applications for promotion, it is reasonable to interpret the regulations in such a way that the applicant can apply for promotion within the subject area(s) covered in his or her current position in recent years.

For certain positions, a combination of academic and artistic competence will be relevant. The applicant must then according to the regulation choose whether the application for promotion shall be made on academic or artistic basis.

The regulation require that an associate professor is appointed on the basis of either academic or artistic competence, cf § 1-4. If the applicant was appointed in the subject area on the basis of academic competence (PhD or equivalent), he or she will have to apply for promotion on the basis of scientific expertise. If the applicant was appointed on the basis of artistic competence, he or she will have to apply for promotion on the basis of artistic competence.

In the evaluation of the overall artistic production (with particular emphasis on the works selected), priority shall be given to the applicant’s artistic activities in the last five to ten years. Particular weight shall be ascribed to whether the applicant’s professional activities in recent years have increased, stagnated or declined.

2.2.    Documentation requirements
Along with his or her application, the applicant shall provide a complete list of his/her artistic work, which must be based for the most part on works that have been made public, and any written works produced by the applicant. In the application, the applicant must indicate which works (up to 15) he/she considers to be the most important.  Documentation of these works is to be submitted for evaluation. The committee must carry out a particularly thorough assessment of these selected works. If necessary the committee can request the submission of supplementary works. The documentation must reveal whether the works have been made public in professionally recognized contexts, and the committee must take this into account in its assessment. The applicant can also submit write-ups and/or reviews of the submitted works that have been published in relevant publications.

Documentation can be enclosed of other professional or subject-related technical competence linked to the submitted works or included as a separate item in the list of 15 works.

If works that have not been made public are submitted for assessment, a special justification must be included in the application. In its assessment of the individual applicant, the committee must make special mention of such works and give grounds for the importance it attributes to them.

When submitting works for assessment where the applicant is one of several contributors, the application must contain an account of his/her contribution to the work.

Documented works of popular science and other methods of dissemination count in a favourable direction in the overall assessment. It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit documentation that provides a basis for a qualitative assessment of his/her academic competence.

Activities related to popular science can be documented by means of lectures given, media coverage or published work.

Professorial competence is prescribed by section 1-2, paragraph 3 of the Regulations: “Documented competence in relevant educational theory and practice based on training or on teaching and supervision.”

This means that the committee will assess the applicant’s practical pedagogical competence. Pedagogical requirements are the same as those required for appointment as an associate professor. Nonetheless, it is vital that such competence be documented on appointment as a professor or for professorial promotion.

4.1.    Requirements for basic teaching qualifications
Basic teaching qualifications are required. If the applicant cannot document relevant pedagogical competence based on education, teaching or supervision, he/she must acquire basic teaching qualifications within two years of the date of the appointment or of the promotion.

4.2.    Teaching at all subject levels
The applicant should have teaching experience in the subject area of the advertised post or in the subject area in which he/she is employed when applying for promotion. Teaching experience in a closely related field or comprehensive general teaching experience can be accepted if it is clear that the applicant has the required academic knowledge to teach in the subject area that is described in the advertisement/post description.

There must be no doubt that the applicant is able to teach at all subject levels. The applicant’s ability to teach at all levels must emerge clearly in the committee’s assessment.

4.3.    Documentation requirements
The evaluation committee will find the following checklist useful in the checking, description and comparison of applicants’ qualifications:

Basic teaching qualifications
Course in university pedagogy, practical teacher training, university or university college degree in pedagogy or related subjects, teaching qualification, supplementary teacher training. Such training must have a minimum scope of three to four weeks (full-time).

Teaching, supervision and examination work

  • Forms of teaching: lectures, seminars, demonstrations, exercises, distance learning, etc.
  • Supervision: overview of Master’s and PhD theses, etc.
  • Examination work: documentation of participation in examinations and other forms of assessment of students as an external examiner, examination marking, etc.

Planning study programmes, course assessment
Reports of research and development initiatives. Reports of student assessment of own courses. What should count here is the quality of the course assessment itself and the follow-up in the form of revised teaching.

Teaching materials
If there is a considerable amount of teaching material, only a representative selection should be enclosed with the application. The remainder can be listed in an overview.

Research and development work
Plans, reports, diplomas, etc. that show participation in pedagogical research and development work (not restricted to own courses). Contribution to shared pedagogical development of expertise within own specialist area.

Subject-related adminstrative qualifications may count favourably in the assessment of the application for professorial promotion or for appointment to a professorship. The applicant must document any subject-related administrative experience such as project management, subject-related administrative offices held etc. Emphasis will be placed on experience of heading research projects, coordination of research activities as well as experience of strategic research work.

6.1.    Overall assessment
As a basis for further processing by bodies with the power of recommendation and appointment, the committee must define as clearly as possible the overall competence of qualified applicants compared with each other.

In the overall assessment, primary importance shall be assigned to academic/artistic competence as an absolute requirement. The fact that an applicant might have particularly high competence within teaching or popular science does not reduce the requirement for academic/artistic competence.

If the documentation includes student works (Master’s and PhD theses and the like), these should be given minor weighting in the overall assessment.

At present a moderate gender allocation applies. If male and female applicants are approximately equal, this must be clearly indicated in the assessment.

6.2.    Ranking of applicants for professorships if appropriate
The institution may decide that the committee should give a provisional assessment and rank the three best-qualified applicants when there are a number of competent applicants. To assist the appointments body in deciding to what extent interviews, trial lectures and rules on moderate gender allocation should influence their recommendation, the assessment must always clarify whether the academic divergence between the ranked applicants is large or small. Applicants with approximately equal competence are to be given the same ranking.

In the ranking of applicants who are approximately equal with regard to academic/artistic competence, practical teacher training and experience will be decisive. If the advertisement/post description does not contain any special requirements, an applicant with high practical teaching competence should be ranked above an applicant with marginal experience, all else being equal. Teaching experience outside the advertised subject field is to be included in the assessment.

The committee shall normally, and always in the case of applications for professorial promotion, deliver a joint statement.

The statement shall:

  • explain the formal basis for the evaluation, i.e. the regulations, recommendations, guidelines, description of the post, etc., on which the committee’s work is based.
  • describe the applicants’ formal competence, including education and work experience.
  • explain the committee’s assessment of the documentation the applicant has submitted.
  • describe any audition/other artistic activity which has been carried out, and explain the committee’s assessment of the applicant’s artistic performance in this case.
  • explain the committee’s assessment of the applicants’ overall competence on the basis of documentation and any art-related examinations.
  • clarify whether the statement is unanimous (in the case of applications for professorial promotion).

Initially the committee should present and if necessary substantiate any aspects of the description of the post which it has found particularly necessary to emphasize.

Scientific competence, artistic competence, popular science activities and practical pedagogical competence (items 1–4 of the Guidelines) are to be addressed in separate sections, if relevant with a conclusion regarding the competence of each applicant.

In the evaluation of applicants for professorships, each applicant shall be addressed briefly and as fairly as possible when it comes to their education, scientific/artistic work and practical experience. The documentation provided is to be discussed and assessed, either on an individual or group basis. For applicants whom the committee does not find to be qualified, the requirements that are not fulfilled should be specified.

In the case of applications for promotion, detailed reasoning should be given when a committee finds that an applicant does not have professorial competence. In the event of dissent, both the majority and the minority must give detailed grounds for their position. It must be made clear when an applicant is assessed as having professorial competence that this assessment is unanimous and indisputable.

If the committee has taken into consideration submitted papers which have not been peer-reviewed or published, the committee must establish that they are of the same scientific quality as the peer-reviewed published works.

The chairperson/administrator of the committee is responsible for ensuring that the committee’s statement is formulated in accordance with these guidelines.

A final decision should be made at the latest within a year of the applicant submitting the documentation to the institution responsible for evaluation in this subject area. This time limit can only be deviated from under exceptional circumstance.

A suggested outline plan for the expert assessment of professorial promotion is attached (please see page 8-10 in the attached document Guidelines for the evaluation of applicants to professorships and professorial promotion). This outline should be adapted to local rules for promotion and sent to the institutions’ expert committee.