Tenure track at the University of Helsinki
The competitive and transparent Helsinki tenure track model attracts top scientists from all over the world. A tailored career path and and an international, transparent recruitment process facilitate top research in a unique research and teaching environment.
The Helsinki tenure track model
A tailored career path

In our three-level tenure track, a fixed-term assistant professorship of three to five years leads to an associate professorship of three to five years. This culminates in a permanent professorship if the criteria for granting tenure are met.

All stages of the tenure track can be entered directly depending on the career stage of the applicant.

The intention of the system is to increase the predictability, competitiveness and attractiveness of academic careers.

Our tenure track model enables the careful selection of candidates. Once a candidate is selected, individual criteria are set to define the guidelines for progress along the tenure track.

Assessment criteria

The assessment is always an overall assessment of three areas. The following criteria are used to assess the candidates both during recruitment and for progress on tenure track:

  1. Research qualifications
  2. Teaching and supervision qualifications
  3. Public engagement and interaction within the University community

 

A tailored career path: tenure track 3 to 10 years:

  1. Fixed term assistant professor - 3 to 5 years
    • Review based on individual criteria
  2. Associate professor - 3 to 5 years
    • Review based on individual criteria
    • External assessment
  3. Full professor - permanent

All stages of the tenure track can be entered directly depending on the career stage of the applicant.

 

In the recruitment of assistant/associate professors and professors, three areas are assessed:

  • Research qualifications
  • Teaching and supervision qualifications
  • Public engagement and interaction within the University community

The assessment is always conducted as an overall assessment of the listed set of criteria. The criteria are based on the Rector’s Decision HY/125/00.00.06.00/2019.

As­sess­ment cri­teria for As­sist­ant Pro­fessor

During the first stage, an assistant professor is expected to demonstrate academic potential and ability to develop in an academic career. When recruiting for the first stage of the tenure track, the aim is to recognise future potential:

  • High-quality research merits and qualifications compared to the amount of academic experience, evidence of an independent research approach as well as of the originality and quality of research
  • The quality and number of peer-reviewed publications and/or monographs
  • Activity in national and international research groups and/or networks
  • Postgraduate studies, postdoctoral terms and/or working abroad
  • Experts in the field consider the candidate to possess future potential
  • Demonstrated motivation to develop teaching and possible teaching experience as well as other teaching qualifications
  • Activity in academic research communities
  • Demonstrated activity in acquiring competitive research funding.

As­sess­ment cri­teria for As­so­ci­ate Pro­fessor

During the second stage, associate professors are expected to have significant scientific merits in addition to future potential. The individual has clear potential for a full professorship:

  • Evidence of continuous, increasingly high-quality scientific research
  • Independently authored peer-reviewed publications in important publication series/publication forums in the field and/or monographs published by significant publishers
  • Activity in international research groups and/or networks and working abroad
  • Experts in the field consider the candidate a respected scholar
  • Demonstrated teaching and supervision experience, evidence of developing teaching and other teaching qualifications
  • Activity (incl. leadership experience) in academic research communities
  • Evidence of acquiring competitive research funding
  • Public engagement and interaction within the University community.

As­sess­ment cri­teria for Pro­fessor (full)

An individual recruited as a professor is expected to have strong academic merits and qualifications and be recognised as a significant opinion-leader in his or her own discipline:

  • High-quality scientific qualifications and significant publication merits
  • Evidence of experience in the supervision of scientific research
  • Evidence of supervision of doctoral dissertations and other supervision experience 
  • Ability to provide high-quality teaching based on research
  • Extensive teaching experience and pedagogical training, teaching skills demonstration assessed at least good (at minimum)
  • Ability to produce and develop learning material
  • Experience, skills and evidence of acting in the role of an academic leader, strong leadership and interaction skills
  • Activity within the scientific community
  • Evidence of acquiring significant competitive research funding
  • International scientific activities and positions of trust
  • Evidence of public engagement.

To support you in your path towards full professorship, we will tailor a career path for you with individually considered criteria for progress. These criteria build up your competence step by step to allow you to progress on the tenure track.

Meeting the challenges set for you will show us that you are determined to ambitiously pursue the career of a professor at the University of Helsinki. We also offer a possibility for mentoring to support you on your path.

Individual criteria for progress are defined after you have been recruited for a position. The following criteria are used to assess the candidates both during recruitment and for progress on tenure track:

  • Research qualifications
  • Teaching and supervision qualifications
  • Public engagement and interaction within the University community
An international, transparent recruitment process

The University strives to find the most talented and motivated people to recruit for tenure track positions. Our application process has been praised for its transparency, professional conduct and international outlook. All nominations are based on careful consideration by respected experts and external reviewers. We communicate openly with all candidates throughout the process.

Recruitment process overview

Process duration: 6 to 12 months. We communicate openly to all candidates throughout the process.

1. Iden­ti­fic­a­tion of po­ten­tial can­did­ates and open call

All University of Helsinki tenure track positions are published in an open call. Positions are usually advertised on an open-rank basis. This means inviting applications from all levels: prospective assistant professors, associate professors and professors.

In the University of Helsinki tenure track recruitment process, the faculty’s search committee or an equivalent body can be used to identify potential candidates. 

2. Eval­u­ation and shortlist

In the following stage of the recruitment process, the candidates are evaluated and short-listed. In University of Helsinki tenure track recruitment, an appointment committee is used at this stage. The dean establishes the appointment committee, which is to include five professors.

In exceptional circumstances, up to two committee members can be docents with the experience required for the task. Disqualification is taken into consideration when forming the appointment committee. 

The University of Helsinki promotes equality in all circumstances, and therefore where possible, both women and men are to be selected as committee members.

The appointment committee short-lists the applicants. At this stage all of the applicants are informed whether they are short-listed candidates or not.

 

The following stages are only for short-listed candidates: 

3.  Ex­ternal eval­u­ation, in­ter­view and eval­u­ation of teach­ing skills (site visit)

The appointment committee requests statements from the short-listed candidates on their academic qualifications and other merits from at least two external assessors. Where possible, an equal number of women and men are to be selected as external assessors.

See more detailed information about the scientific evaluation in Instructions for external assessors, further down on this page.

The in­ter­view(s)

The applicants are contacted to agree on the time and place for an interview. Depending on the process, there can be two rounds of interviews. The appointment committee conducts the interview(s).

Eval­u­ation of teach­ing skills

Teaching skills are assessed as a whole, taking into account:

  • pedagogical training and thinking,
  • teaching experience and the development of teaching,
  • experience in thesis and dissertation supervision,
  • the ability to produce learning material,
  • other teaching merits and a demonstration of teaching skills.

The evaluation of the teaching skills is done by the faculty’s teaching skills committee.

The requirements of each assessment area are described in the assessment matrix. The matrix might vary a bit depending on the faculty (see each faculty’s instructions from the faculty’s website under assessment of teaching skills). During the recruitment process, applicants are provided with all the necessary information for the evaluation of teaching skills.  

The assessment of teaching skills indicates whether the applicant is qualified for the position in terms of his or her teaching skills. At the end of the recruitment process, the applicant will always receive a statement on his or her teaching skills.

The teach­ing demon­stra­tion

The idea of the teaching demonstration is to illustrate how, in a pedagogically meaningful way, the candidate would teach a given subject to a given target group of students.

A teaching demonstration is very different from a scientific presentation in that the candidate does not illustrate his or her own knowledge on the subject. In the teaching demonstration, the candidate focuses on the students’ learning regarding both knowledge and skills, and on the inclusion of activating elements.

In practice, the teaching skills committee typically decides the title of the teaching demonstration. Typically, all of the applicants are given the same title for the lecture. The duration of the lecture is approximately 20­­ to 30 min. During the recruitment process, HR will provide all the necessary information on how to prepare for the teaching demonstration.

Other ele­ments of the site visit

During the site visit, depending on the recruitment process and the department or faculty, candidates may have the opportunity to hold a scientific talk, meet other researchers from the field and take a closer look at the relevant infrastructure.

4. Re­cruit­ment de­cision

All candidates still involved in the process will be informed personally once the recruitment decision is made.

At the University of Helsinki the recruitment decision is made in a proposal process:

  1. Firstly, the appointment committee makes a comprehensive assessment and forms an overview of the qualifications of the short-listed applicants.
  2. Secondly, the appointment committee proposes the final statement to the dean of the faculty. 
  3. Thirdly, the rector decides on the appointment after carefully considering the application documents as well as the material produced during the appointment process.

After the decision is made, the faculty contacts the new assistant professor/associate professor/professor to discuss about the practicalities and after that the work contract is signed.  If an assistant or associate professor is recruited, criteria are set for a successful term as an assistant or associate professor.

 

The University of Helsinki invites external assessors to evaluate the scientific qualifications of candidates during the recruitment process.

The following information is targeted especially for assessors who are evaluating the candidates during the recruitment process for assistant/associate professors and professors as well as in cases of tenure review, promotion and invitation. 

1. Be­ing in­vited to be an ex­ternal as­sessor

The appointment committee submits a proposal concerning the external assessors to the dean, who decides whether to approve them. In each recruitment process, at least two external assessors are invited to give a statement on each short-listed candidate.

Typically, assessors hold the position of professor or have equal academic merits. The research field of the position will be taken into account when selecting the assessors.

There are restrictions to who can serve as an assessor. The assessment process complies with the general principles of disqualification.

  • An assessor should not have joint publications or other scientific collaboration with the applicant within the past three years.
  • An assessor should not be a co-grant holder or co-grant applicant, doctoral thesis supervisor (within the last ten years), close friend or close relative of the applicant. 

To avoid conflicts of interest assessors are asked to confirm how they know the candidate in their report. 

2. Can­did­ate eval­u­ation and re­port

In each recruitment process, instructions and/or a template form for assessment are provided to all of the evaluators. These support the evaluators in their work and ensure that all relevant assessment areas are covered.

Assessors are asked to give an overall assessment of the candidates’ academic qualifications and submit a short written report that focuses on the academic competence and relative strengths and weaknesses of the candidates and each candidate’s suitability for the particular field of the position.

Assessors are asked to indicate in their assessment for which stage (assistant professor/associate professor/professor) each candidate is most suitable and also to classify the candidates in accordance with the following categories: highly recommendable, recommendable, not recommendable. 

3. Prin­ciples guid­ing the re­cruit­ment of as­sist­ant/​as­so­ci­ate pro­fess­ors and pro­fess­ors at the University of Helsinki

Ten­ure track model of the University of Helsinki

In our three-level tenure track, a fixed-term assistant professorship of three to five years leads to an associate professorship of three to five years. This culminates in a permanent professorship if the criteria for granting tenure are met. All stages of the tenure track can be entered directly, depending on the career stage of the applicant.

The Regulations of the University of Helsinki specify qualification criteria for professors (section 34) and assistant/associate professors (section 37). For more information, see The Regulations of the University of Helsinki.

Specific assessment criteria for assistant/associate professors and professors at the University of Helsinki are used in the recruitment of assistant/associate professors and professors. The same criteria are also used in the promotion and tenure reviews.

Dis­qual­i­fic­a­tion reg­u­la­tions in the University of Helsinki re­cruit­ment pro­cesses

The aim of disqualification rules is to promote the impartiality of decision-making and prevent the inappropriate influencing of decisions. Consideration must be based on objectivity and fairness.

A disqualified individual cannot take part in the handling of a matter or be present when the matter is discussed. A person is disqualified if they feel that their impartiality is compromised. More information about the disqualification situations is available in this document:

The most typical disqualification cases (pdf)

4. Equal­ity and di­versity in re­cruit­ment

The University of Helsinki is committed to promoting equality and diversity and preventing discrimination in all its operations. We require all of our assessors to take this into account in their assessments. Any possible implicit or unconscious bias from the recruiters and assessors is taken into account. This may concern gender, ethnicity, age and other possible factors related to discrimination. 

The University promotes equal recruitment regardless of gender. It strives to ensure equal opportunities for career advancement at all levels. Clear and transparent criteria are applied in all recruitment processes to ensure that each applicant’s merits are equitably assessed. Where possible, both women and men are appointed to committees and nominated as assessors.

Equality and diversity at the University of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki Equality and Diversity Plan.

5. De­scrip­tion of Aca­demic Ca­reer levels at the University of Helsinki

Please look into the University of Helsinki academic career levels. This helps you as an assessor when evaluating the candidates. Some Finland-specific terms might appear in the candidates’ applications. Academic career titles at the University of Helsinki and other possible titles in the Finnish academic system are listed here.

 

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