The combination of pedagogically skilled teachers with research- and best-practice based teaching is a fundamental success factor for Uppsala University. Teaching quality is considered the collective responsibility of the teacher and the student, a vision which is the basis of the University’s Programme for Teaching and Learning. The programme defines the respective roles and responsibilities of the University´s teaching staff and students.
Conditions for student learning
All teaching at the University shall be based on a scientific approach and provide conditions for students to develop their own scientific aptitudes. A high level of subject expertise among both teachers and students is a basic prerequisite for this, while academic studies also require systematic training in critical thinking. This turn empowers students to analyse and evaluate research results and provides them with the capacity to independently identify and address emergent challenges.
Teaching at the University assumes active student participation. It is the teacher’s responsibility to organise teaching and assessment in such a way that these activities provide students with knowledge, skills, and provides opportunities to demonstrate a scientific approach in group tasks as well as in critical dialogue.
Development of educational programmes
A course at the University is never fully developed. Course content is of course regularly revised in light of advances or shifts in research, but teachers are at the same time rarely fully satisfied with their craft. They constantly reflect on what method is the most appropriate to explain a phenomenon, how a perspective can best be clarified, why a particular course moment is more challenging to some students than others.
Summative course evaluations, collected at the end of each course, and in-course formative evaluations where students regularly submit feedback on their learning experiences provide teachers with valuable material for adapting and restructuring teaching. The departmental Directors of Studies are tasked with leading and supporting pedagogic development. It is their duty to ensure that all educational programs are evaluated on a regular basis and that there is regular and active discourse regarding pedagogic issues within the subject fields and departments.
Professional development in teaching and learning
All teachers must, in addition to necessary qualifications in their own subject field, have basic training regarding academic teaching and learning. Teachers shall be provided with regular opportunities to advance their pedagogic competence and to follow scientific, pedagogic and didactic advances within their subject fields. It is also desirable that all teachers actively conduct research to the best of their capacity in order to strengthen the connection between teaching and research.
The value of the teaching experience
Teaching is, along with research, the University´s most central function and individual ambitions to improve as a teacher must be supported and made worthwhile. Qualities such as expertise in academic teaching, engagement in educational development and didactic skills shall have explicit value in regards to positions that include pedagogic activities. These pedagogic qualifications shall always be assessed by a specialist in any application process. All teaching staff is encouraged to actively document their pedagogic activities in a teaching portfolio in order to facilitate such an assessment process. Basic training in compiling a portfolio is provided as part of the basic Academic Teacher Training Course.
The University also strives to develop career development options for teachers parallel to the researcher career path. This includes the option to apply for the title of Excellent Teacher at the home faculty, and to be nominated by the students for one of the annual pedagogic prizes.
Teachers and students at Uppsala University are engaged in a number of pedagogic development projects. Over the last year, these have included projects aimed at utilizing the University´s rich cultural heritage and collections as a teaching and learning resource, at furthering Active Student Participation in educational development, and in course development in the University´s experimental classroom.
Networks and nodes
Dialogue and active discussion are the lifeblood of all research. Methods and results are presented and analysed during seminar sessions, at conferences, in journals and in other publications. An open approach to critical review is a core tenet of scholarly work.
The same must apply for teaching and learning activities if these are to be developed. In order to encourage and facilitate a broader exchange of teaching and learning experiences, and to provide teachers with opportunities to expand their training and advanced education, the University supports a number of different networks and nodes.