The teaching portfolio at Aarhus University

At Aarhus University, we understand how important engaging teaching is, and the university is committed to helping researchers enhance the quality of their teaching. This will both improve student learning outcomes and contribute to the university’s goal of offering world-class research-based education.

An increased focus on pedagogical competency development will also provide staff with important professional qualifications. In addition, it will contribute to strengthened collaboration in regard to the planning, practice, development and assessment of teaching and education. Such competency development must be relevant to the specific teaching duties and tasks of individual staff. It must also provide them with documented skills as well as increasing their motivation and job satisfaction.

Pro-rector at Aarhus University, Berit Eika, introduces you to the teaching portfolio in this video.

The portfolio is a tool that allows teaching staff to describe their teaching practice. It is intended to enable teaching staff to reflect on their teaching. Such reflection can take place in relationship with development initiatives, collaboration with students and colleagues or other teaching-related projects.

The teaching portfolio is used in two contexts:

  • The SDD portfolio: The portfolio is used in connection with discussions about the development of pedagogical/didactic competencies. This discussion takes place as part of the mandatory staff development dialogues (SDDs) (for staff and/or managers and/or groups/units).
  • The recruitment portfolio: the portfolio is required documentation of competencies in connection with academic hires. The portfolio documents that applicants have the required pedagogical/didactic competencies to perform teaching duties.  

Ongoing pedagogical competency development (SDD portfolio)

All staff with teaching duties at Aarhus University are required to discuss their pedagogical competency development in their SDDs. In the context of these dialogues, staff and their managers discuss how pedagogical/didactic competencies are to be maintained and developed moving forward.

A teaching portfolio is the point of departure for this discussion. The teaching portfolio contains reflections on and descriptions of teaching experience and related competency development.

If you need guidance on what to write in your teaching portfolio, you’ll find material here.

Academic hires (recruitment portfolio)

Aarhus University includes an assessment of the pedagogical/didactic competencies of applicants to academic positions. The teaching qualifications of applicants are assessed systematically. This is done in order to ensure that applicants have the necessary competencies to carry out the specific teaching duties involved in the position.

The teaching portfolio is used in connection with the assessment of applicants’ pedagogical competencies. For this reason, it must be included in applications to the following positions: postdoc with teaching duties, researcher, (teaching) assistant professor, (teaching) associate professor and professor. The level of the position is taken into consideration when assessing teaching competencies. In addition to the portfolio, applications to associate professor and professor positions must also attach a teaching statement.

The teaching portfolio must contain:

  • an overview and description of your teaching, supervision, and dissemination activities
  • an example of evaluation or other quality assurance work and your reflections on this work
  • an example of collaboration with students and colleagues in the context of teaching, supervision, or dissemination
  • documentation of pedagogical/didactic competency development
  • additional pedagogical topics, as decided by the department/school or faculty.

Applicants who lack the necessary pedagogical competencies can be hired, on condition that the department/school draws up a plan detailing how the successful candidate is to acquire the required pedagogical competencies. The plan must be drawn up within two years.