Teacher’s career advancement

A teacher in a higher education will often have to balance between teaching and research work in one way or another. Those teaching at a university usually have a great deal of pressure to produce academic research. It is often considered necessary for career advancement. This is why dividing time between high-quality teaching and high-class research can often be challenging. At universities of applied sciences, however, those providing teaching are considered teachers in the first place, and they take part in research and project work in the limits they have time allocated for it.


At universities of applied sciences a teacher’s qualification is required from anyone in the teacher’s profession. Typical titles include part-time teacher, lecturer and principal lecturer. To work as a principal lecturer, an applicable licentiate’s degree or a doctoral degree, completed through postgraduate studies, is required. A lecturer is expected to have an applicable master’s degree.

Tampere University

In scientific higher education institutes, all teaching is based on researched information. Traditionally, this has meant that research in the scientific field in question and research merits have been the path to advance into higher teaching positions in a university career. However, it is naturally also possible to research and develop one’s scientific field from a pedagogical perspective. Employees in teaching positions may evolve as both teachers and researchers by managing the challenges of teaching in their field of science through the methods of scientific research.

In universities, especially, teaching is carried out under many different titles and in many kinds of roles. A certain amount of teaching can also be required from the researchers and doctoral students. Students can also hold assistant teaching roles, for example by reviewing the assignments of lower grade students as ‘course assistants’. However, teaching is usually carried out by a person holding the title of part-time teacher, university instructor, lecturer, university lecturer, or professor.

Teaching portfolio

Career advancement as a teacher at a higher education institution typically requires professional and/or academic qualifications as well as pedagogical training. Teaching experience should be demonstrated with the documents from previous teaching assignments and a separate ‘teaching portfolio’. You should start putting this portfolio together as soon as you start gaining teaching experience. The terms ‘extensive’ or ‘basic’ are often used in connection with portfolios. They are personal records that grow more extensive in time, and their purpose is to help teachers study and monitor their development in their work. The actual teaching portfolio is a more concise, official document used to allocate teaching assignments, which document the applicant’s teaching merits and experience.

Tampere University instructions for creating a teaching portfolio.

A procedure called ‘the assessment of teaching competence at Tampere University’ is related to applying for teaching roles in Tampere University. A teaching portfolio is also used as a part of it: the applicants can present the various aspects of their teaching competence, and those preparing to appoint applicants can assess the applicants’ various aspects, their ability to develop their teaching skills, based on feedback and their professional development.

Assessing teaching competence in Tampere University

Teaching competence assessment helps promote the goals of Tampere University’s education and research strategies regarding the university’s pedagogical reform, close linkages between teaching and research and the appreciation and support of teaching. The assessment of teaching competence also supports the university’s pedagogical reform in the long-term by ensuring the competence in development and management of teaching, guidance and education at the university.

Tampere University’s key resource in implementing the strategy’s goals is skilled and motivated personnel and students who are inspired to build up their competence. Skilled teachers support the students’ learning and the smooth progress of their studies and help students achieve their own learning and competence goals. In a constantly evolving higher education community, the staff and students work together to develop education, pedagogics and learning environments in a goal-oriented manner.

A successful recruitment process is a key factor in successful and goal-oriented development of education and learning in Tampere University. Teaching competence can be evaluated with means such as teaching portfolios, teaching demonstrations and interviews. At the university, members of the teaching competence assessment pool are invited to teaching competence assessments and tenure track advancement assessments to support the recruitment process when necessary. This assessment pool comprises professors with accumulated pedagogical merits as well as other teaching staff and student members.

Applying for the title of Docent

A person with comprehensive knowledge of their own field, a capacity for independent research as demonstrated through publications or in some other manner and good teaching skills can be awarded the title of a Docent upon application. In practice, this means a doctorate, extensive scientific publications produced after completing the degree and good teaching skills. The title of docent alone does not guarantee an employment relationship with the university, read more about Applying for the title of Docent.

Elsewhere in TLC

Pedagogical management

Links checked 25.9.2023