Center for Medical Education

Educational Competence - FAQ

Main content

What is «educational competence»?

Educational competence is a requirement for all academic staff in higher education institutions. It refers to competence within relevant educational theory and practice based on training or on teaching and supervision. Universities Norway/Universitets- og høgskolerådet (UHR) has developed national guidelines to further describe this competence: https://www.uhr.no/temasider/karrierepolitikk-2/nasjonale-veiledende-retningslinjer-for-uh-pedagogisk-basiskompetanse/

Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts defines educational competence as follows:

 “Completed training program (minimum 200 hours)/relevant courses and accumulated basic skills in the planning, execution, evaluation and development of teaching and supervision (foundational competence for teaching and supervision at higher education level).”

At UiB the most common path to formally accomplish this is by attending the Program for University Pedagogy. For more information about the program: https://www.uib.no/en/uniped

It is also possible to have your educational competence assessed as equivalent to the University Pedagogy Program, by application. Applications must be sent to the faculty and must include a teaching portfolio as describes below.  


Who is the requirement for?

All applicants and employees must fulfill the basic pedagogical requirement described above in order to qualify as associate professor and professor. However, for associate professor, applicants who cannot document such competence must complete the training with 2 years after employment.

Applicants for professor must document basic educational competence as described above, before being employed. In addition they must document the following three competence criteria:

  • Development of educational quality in his/her own teaching and supervision over time
  • Broad experience with supervision, preferably at master/ ph.d.- level
  • Participation in the development of educational quality in collaboration with peers

(see detailed description below)

The regulations apply regardless of in what percentage you are employed, including additional positions. For renewal of fixed term contracts (åremålsstilling) educational qualifications must be documented, including the three additional requirements.


How are the three additional requirements operationalized?

Applicants for professor must document basic educational competence as described above and three additional competence criteria which are described below.

  • Development of educational quality in his/her own teaching and supervision over time

As an educator your are expected to have developed your pedagogical competence over time and your portfolio should illustrate that you are motivated and able to continuously improve. This can be demonstrated by documenting initiative to evaluate your own teaching, seek feedback from students and peers, revisions of teaching and willingness to try out new methods and teaching strategies. Furthermore, you can demonstrate your willingness to develop professionally by attending pedagogical courses, workshops, seminars and/or congresses. Your portfolio should contain a description and reflections on your learning trajectory as an educator. The expression “over time” refers to at least a period of five years.

  • Broad experience with supervision, preferably at master/ ph.d.- level

In this context “broad experience” refers to having supervised at least three master or ph.d. students, whereof at least one should be at ph.d-level. If you work within an academic discipline with few students or for other reasons there are few opportunities to supervise, you should argue for how this is so in your application.

  • Participation in the development of educational quality in collaboration with peers

This requirement deals with various type of pedagogical work such as educational leadership, program revisions, being part of larger developmental projects, reforms, evaluations or progress reports (locally, nationally or internationally). You can demonstrate skills in this category also by having initiated or contributed to faculty development work in a substantial way.

Are there any exceptions from these rules?

Yes, an applicant might be exempt from not being able to document basic pedagogical competence for shorter work contract (less than three years). However, if this contract is renewed, the requirements for pedagogical competence must be met and documented. If an applicant has less than three years remaining before retirement, exceptions can be made. See UiB rules for further details


How do I document my pedagogical competence?

You should develop a teaching portfolio. A teaching portfolio usually consists of three main parts:

A teaching CV: a systematic and chronologically organized resume of the educational roles you have had.

A short teaching philosophy statement/reflective essay: This is a text where you describe and reflect on your teaching experiences, the achieved results of your teaching, other educational work experiences you have had and how you work to develop your teaching and supervision. Your reflections should link your experiences with research based knowledge about teaching and learning in higher education. It might also include topics such as reflections on your educational role(s), what characterizes learning and quality teaching in your specific subject and context, rationale behind the methods and strategies you use, strengths and areas for improvement etc. The essay should be approximately two pages long.

Appendixes/documentation: For example course certificates or diplomas, documentation of attendance (and program) from seminars and conferences you have been to, conference papers or scientific articles, project reports, evaluation reports, recommendations, awards etc. Makes sure all these forms of documentation is related to teaching and learning in higher education.

Your teaching portfolio should be approximately 3-6 pages long (appendixes come in addition). See our suggested template for a teaching portforlio here. 

I plan to apply for personal promotion to full professor – what should I do?

If you have completed the basic university pedagogy program at UoB or you can document an equivalent education from another institution, you should:

  • Collect your course diplomas and other relevant documentation, including deciding how you can document your pedagogical competence as described in the additional criteria for full professor
  • Prepare a teaching CV summarizing your teaching experiences
  • Develop your teaching portfolio using a suggested template

If you haven’t completed the basic university pedagogy program you should sign up now, and/or identify other possible courses that you make take that will serve as equivalent to the program.

You can also apply to the Faculty of Medicine and ask to have your qualifications assessed to be equivalent to the university pedagogy program. Contact the faculty’s Human Resources staff for details on assessment criteria and how to apply.

My fixed term contract is soon up for renewal –what should I do?

If you have a fixed term contract that requires basic pedagogical competence, you can not have that contract renewed without document the pedagogical competence requirements described in the Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts. You should start planning well in advance to make sure you can meet these requirements.

I am in the beginning of my academic career – what should I be aware of?

It is important that you start immediately collecting and storing documentation for the various activities, courses, evaluations and project work that you engage in as an educator or that help build your educational competence. These might become sources for documenting you educational competence later in your career.

I am uncertain as to whether or not I meet the requirements. Where can I learn more?

The faculty’s Centre for Medical Education offers workshops for those who would like to get help developing their teaching portfolio.

Also, we recommend that you use your colleagues for support, as discussion partners and to provide feedback on drafts for your teaching portfolio.