Recruitment, Teaching Skills and Docent at the Faculty of Social Sciences

The faculty employs approximately 200 people in various positions. Most of the personnel consists of research and teaching personnel from professors to research assistants. "Docent", on the other hand, is a title awarded by the university on application, not a position of employment.

Vacancies at the faculty are announced primarily on the University of Turku Open Vacancies page and other public media such as the Helsingin Sanomat and Turun Sanomat newspapers, and various other websites.

People applying the positions or the title of docent in the Faculty will make their curriculum vitae by the instructions of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK) and the list of publications by the instructions of the Academy of Finland. Furthermore, the university has instructions for preparing an academic portfolio. These three documents are all required when applying for permanent teaching and research positions and the title of docent. Each call for applications may also have more detailed requests for materials for example regarding key publications.

Docent

The University of Turku may on application award the title of docent to a person who has thorough expertise in his or her field, the skills necessary for conducting independent research or artistic work as evidenced by publications or otherwise, and good teaching skills.

If you intend to apply for the title of docent at the faculty, please contact the relevant discipline or department first.

The process and instructions for applying for the title of docent are available in a separate document called Docent instructions.

More information concerning the application of the title of docent: Taina Karjalainen, HR Specialist, taikar@utu.fi, +358 50 415 6047

Guidelines for a trial lecture

The teaching skills evaluation committee of the Faculty of Social Sciences arranges an opportunity for applicants to give a trial lecture, evaluates the trial lectures and provides an overall assessment of the teaching merits of each applicant called to give a trial lecture.

​The teaching skills evaluation committee prepares an overall assessment of teaching skills in the case of a teaching position (excluding professor). For the positions of professor and titles of docent, the committee only evaluates the trial lecture.

The faculty has prepared guidelines for evaluating teaching skills in applying for a teaching position or the title of docent at the faculty of social sciences.

A trial lecture is a public teaching event in the field of the position or title. It may take the form of a lecture, seminar supervision, other teaching occasion or their combination.
The trial lecture can also be given under real teaching circumstances with experts and students in the field present.

In recruitment, the selection committee may when necessary ask applicants for trial lectures on particular subjects relevant to the position (e.g. method studies, reflecting on the relevant field). The trial lecture has a maximum length of 20 minutes, including 5 minutes used in the beginning to frame the teaching event.

The faculty follows the convention that attending the trial lectures given by competing applicants is considered improper.

Before the trial lecture, each candidate must put together a one-page pedagogical curriculum of the course the trial lecture is designed to be part of. The candidate must provide the teaching skills evaluation committee with the curriculum at least one week before the trial lecture.

The course may already be included in the discipline’s curriculum or it may be the applicant’s own invention. The curriculum must include information on the target group of the course, its central learning contents and outcomes, teaching methods, evaluation and methods of gathering feedback. Consideration of pedagogical choices is an additional asset.

The 20-minute trial lecture may include both actual teaching and metaconversation on what would take place in an actual teaching situation. The applicant may use teaching implements in any way she/he sees fit during the trial lecture. When preparing the trial lecfture, the applicant should consider what topics should be learned during the teaching event.

In addition, the following issues should be considered:

  • how is the topic relevant to the field and the applicant’s own research,
  • how students could be activated and
  • what additional materials are used and how.

The teaching event should be conducted in a way that generally reflects the applicants view on good teaching. After the lecture, experts and students have an opportunity to interview the applicant.

The evaluation of the trial lecture is based on the following points:

  • the applicant’s ability to structure the topic of teaching in an accessible manner
  • the applicant’s ability to justify the views and statements presented
  • the applicant’s ability to utilise the latest research in the field
  • the applicant’s ability to organise the teaching event
  • the applicant’s ability to teach in a stimulating and thought-provoking manner
  • the applicant’s ability to utilise teaching equipment
  • the applicant’s performance skills

The trial lecture is evaluated on the following scale: excellent, good, satisfactory, insufficient. In the end, the applicant’s overall teaching skills are evaluated on the following scale: excellent, good, satisfactory, insufficient.

The teaching skills evaluation committee prepares an overall assessment of teaching skills in the case of a teaching position (excluding professor). For the positions of professor and titles of docent, the committee only evaluates the trial lecture.

Guidelines for evaluating teaching skills in applying for a teaching position or the title of docent at the faculty of social sciences

The teaching skills of an applicant for a teaching position or title of docent are given an overall evaluation.

​Applicants are asked to provide with their application a CV and an academic portfolio  and as needed, any other account which permits the teaching skills evaluation committee to evaluate the applicant’s teaching skills.

The documents must demonstrate earlier teaching experience, university pedagogical training, production of learning materials and other potential matters that prove the applicant’s teaching skills. 

For more information on the trial lecture, please see this page. The committee may ask questions on the written documentation in connection with the trial lecture

Principles of evaluating teaching merit

The following matrix is a checklist intended to illustrate to applicants some examples of the issues that are scrutinised when comparing the teaching skills of applicants.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to attach to the application documented evidence which sufficiently details all the merits considered relevant to evaluating teaching skills in the position to be filled. The matrix utilises the corresponding criteria used at the University of Helsinki faculty of social sciences.

The evaluators of teaching skills can use the matrix as a guideline, but the overall evaluation is always based on an individual assessment and comparison of merit. The weight given to particular sectors may differ even within the same category of positions. Teaching skills are important in all categories of positions, and insufficient teaching skills cannot be compensated with other merits.

Assessment categories for teaching merit and their main contents

1. Practical experience in teaching and in developing own teaching
Applicant’s activities as a teacher at a university or other higher education institution:

  • amount and nature of teaching tasks
  • target groups of teaching
  • development and assessment of own teaching: teaching methods used, feedback received and evaluation practices
  • teaching in different languages (especially Finnish, Swedish, and English)
  • using ICT in teaching
  • other experience in teaching and training

2. Supervision experience

  • supervising theses; what level, which fields, how many
  • also experience gained in various supervision situations (e.g. supervising junior researchers)

3. Pedagogical thinking and pedagogical training or other indications of teaching skill

  • teaching mindset or idea
  • applicant’s pedagogical, especially university pedagogical training or other activities related to developing the applicant’s teaching skills documented in a way that demonstrates the scope and nature of the training or other activities, key contents as well as the organizer of the training or the commissioner of the activities in question

4. Producing study materials
publications other teaching materials (in any format) prepared by the applicant


5. Other merits in teaching
Other merits in teaching of the applicant relevant to the position, such as:

  • cooperation and networks in teaching
  • participating in development and quality work on teaching: applicant’s activities especially in structures tasked with developing university teaching or other teaching planning and development tasks
  • expert duties
  • pedagogical research
  • awards and distinctions

6. Trial lecture
A trial lecture is a public teaching event relevant to the position being applied for. It may take the form of a lecture, seminar supervision, other teaching event or their combination. The trial lecture can also be given under real teaching circumstances with experts and students present. Please see this separate page for more on the trial lecture.

The experts and students have an opportunity to interview the applicant.

The trial lecture is evaluated on the following scale: excellent, good, satisfactory, insufficient.

The evaluation of the trial lecture is based on the following items:

  • the applicant’s ability to structure the topic of teaching in an accessible manner
  • the applicant’s ability to justify the views and statements presented
  • the applicant’s ability to utilise the latest research in the field
  • the applicant’s ability to organise the teaching event
  • the applicant’s ability to teach in a stimulating and thought-provoking manner
  • the applicant’s ability to utilise teaching equipment
  • the applicant’s performance skills