Professional development for teaching staff: English, UTQ/BKO, Teaching Framework


Attractive and high-quality academic education largely depends on the skills of the teachers employed.

Within a challenging study environment such as the Twente Educational Model (TEM), the teacher is both a source of inspiration and a critical coach for the students. Investing in the professional development of teaching staff greatly contributes to maintaining and further improving the quality of education at the UT.

At the UT, professional development of teaching staff is enhanced in two ways: by way of the University Teaching Qualification (Dutch: Basiskwalificatie Onderwijs, BKO) and by way of improving the teacher's English communication skills. In addition, the Centre for Training and Development (CTD) offers an extensive range of professional development activities for both starting and (more) advanced teachers.

Language Policy

The UT actively promotes internationalization, as a result of which the English communication skills of UT staff are becoming increasingly important. To support the development and further improvement of these skills, a language policy has been in effect since 2005, which aims to improve the quality of English-language education at the UT. For that reason, English-teaching academic staff need to meet the C1/C2 language level (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), in keeping with the Dutch standard. The most important requirement is for teachers to be able to use the English language freely and confidently, so that the English language is not a stumbling block to conveying the subject matter.

The standard instrument for determining a teacher's English language proficiency is a class assessment which entails a staff member of UT Language Centre (UTLC) attending a teacher's English-taught lecture to gain an impression of their English communication skills. If, during the class assessment, it becomes clear that the teacher does not have a C1/C2-level command of the English language, the teacher will have to follow the advice given by the UT Language Centre and a suitable development programme will be set up in consultation with the teacher.

UT Language policy and styleguide

General information about the language policy and English styleguide is availble on the UT Language Centre website:

UTQ - University Teaching Qualification (or BKO in Dutch)

Dutch Universities have created a certificate of quality for university teaching staff. The University Teaching Qualification (UTQ, or BKO in Dutch) is evidence of the teaching skills and educational competences of teaching staff. UTQ provides uniformity both in the competencies which academic teaching staff must acquire and in how these competencies are tested.

UTQ and HR

All Dutch universities agreed to mutually recognize the University Teaching Qualification and made the UTQ part of their HR policy. The mutual recognition makes obtaining the UTQ career-wise interesting for anyone who provides education in higher education.

At the University of Twente, the UTQ is compulsory for all teaching staff: teachers, assistant professors, associate professors and professors. For more information about whom is expected to obtain an UTQ and in which exceptional situations a customized approach may be suitable.

  • For whom is the UTQ intended? Conditions, rules and exceptions:

    All teaching staff (*) at the UT is obliged to achieve his/ her UTQ within 3 years after appointment. However, there are some exceptional situations that may ask for a customized approach:

    • Employees(*)  with a small sized appointment of <=0.2 FTE, are excluded from the UTQ obligation.
    • Employees(*)  who have less than 3 years to AOW (retirement) date, are excluded from the UTQ obligation.
    • Employees (*) that have little or no teaching activities are advised to contact the faculty CELT advisor.

    (*) with ufo-profile: teacher; assistant professor; associate professor; or professor.

    An UTQ exemption (vrijstelling)

    By ‘exemption’ is meant ‘exemption from the obligation to acquire a UTQ certificate because the teacher possesses a comparable certificate or diploma’. It can be assumed that the teaching competences of teachers with an exemption are at an equivalent qualitative level to those of teachers who have acquired a UTQ certificate. 

The university enables teaching staff to acquire the UTQ by providing support in the (further) development of teaching competences related to the UTQ. This support is provided by teaching specialists from the Center of Expertise in Learning and Teaching (CELT). Visit the CELT-UTQ website  for more information about support and contact persons.

UTQ & Rewarding Teaching achievements

To accommodate a culture of teaching excellence, the university has endorsed a teaching framework that articulates four levels of university teaching. The UTQ is linked to level 1, the effective teacher. You can find more information about the teaching framework in the dedicated alinea below. 

UTQ & Continuous development

The UTQ is not only a test instrument but also a facilitation for teaching staff to learn and reflect on their teaching & learning skills. The UTQ is a starting point for ongoing development of the various facets of education. Examples of other professionalization activities on teaching & learning at the University of Teaching are the Senior Teaching Qualification SUTQ and the Educational Leadership Program.

UT teaching framework

At UT, we want to recognise and reward everybody's talent and stimulate personal talent development. For all people within UT: scientists, teachers, support staff, and students. In order to recognise and reward everybody’s talents, a broader diversity in career paths for staff is needed in one or more key areas (education, research, impact, leadership). Our amibition is to ensure that employees are not only assessed on their individual performance, but also on their impact and contribution they make to the team. The UT teaching framework is one of the tools aimed to provide qualitative and in-depth evaluation and recognition of the teaching achievements of all academic staff.

Important to note is that UFO remains the basis for promotions. The framework offers an additional framework that helps to better interpret the different steps in a teaching career. It thus helps to give 'words' to the different levels of educational performance. Specifically, this teaching framework provides teaching staff practical tools for highlighting their educational achievements in a qualitative interview so that they can take the next career step with an emphasis on teaching.


Please contact HR Services for any further questions. Tel 053 489 8011.

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