In recent years, the University of Twente has made great efforts to boost the quality of education still further. The introduction of the Twente Educational Model has given this campaign a significant push in the right direction. At the same time as this educational model was being introduced, the University of Twente community was engaged in a wider debate on tangible ways of giving greater recognition to academics’ teaching performances. Ruth Graham, of the Royal Academy of Engineering, is an expert in the field of evaluating teaching achievement. In 2015, she carried out a quick scan of the situation at the University of Twente. She went on to make a number of recommendations, which prompted the Doctorate Board to introduce the position of professor with a focus on education.
The introduction of the University of Twente’s new position of ‘Professor 2’ with a focus on education gives academics who are gifted teachers more opportunities for advancement. Starting this year (2018), academics who deliver exceptional performances in both teaching and research will be eligible to advance to the position of ‘Professor 2’. During their academic career, in addition to their research work, anyone who wishes to do so will now be able to focus more on teaching. Over the next few years, around two professors with a focus on education will be appointed in each faculty.
Criteria for 'Professor 2' with a focus on education
By introducing this type of professorial position, Twente is joining a select group of institutions throughout the world that are taking this approach to evaluating teaching achievement at university level. The career path being offered to academics at the University of Twente is based on the model that Ruth Graham developed to promote gifted teachers. Ruth Graham’s model comprises four levels. The first of these, level 1, applies to lecturers whose teaching has a real impact. The highest level, level 4, requires individuals to act as high-profile standard bearers at international level.
The Doctorate Board has established a set of criteria that can be used to evaluate any academics holding the position of Associate Professor 1 who wish to qualify for the position of ‘Professor 2’ with a focus on education. These are the level 4 criteria of Ruth Graham’s “Framework for evaluating and rewarding teaching achievement in an academic environment” (see Figure 1). This model’s robustness has been recognized by the University of Twente community. It clearly sets out the logical steps involved in the development of talented teachers.
As a research university, the University of Twente has opted for an academic career structure that features a combination of teaching and research. This means that anyone at the University of Twente who holds the post of Associate Professor 1 and who aspires to a career in education must: have the potential to become an authority in education in their own field of study; have a vision for innovative education and curriculum development; have a national and international reputation in this area; and show leadership in major educational innovations.
Career path for gifted teachers
The University of Twente is taking steps to ensure that it has a continuous stream of gifted teachers and to create a framework in which career options can be developed for these individuals. This involves developing a career path for gifted teachers that starts at the PhD stage and progresses via the posts of Assistant Professor and Associate Professor to ‘Professor 2’. The final details of this career path with a focus on education are still under development.
Contac: Bertyl Lankhaar (+31 (0)53 489 2210), spokesperson for the Executive Board of the University of Twente.