Docentship

According to the Regulations of the University of Helsinki (Section 52) and the Universities Act (No. 558/2009, section 89) a university may award the title of docent to a person who has comprehensive knowledge of his or her own field, a capacity for independent research or artistic work demonstrated through publication or some other manner, and good teaching skills.

If the faculty council deems that granting the title of docent to the applicant is in the interest of the faculty, department or study programme, it shall acquire statements on the applicant's academic qualifications from two assessors, unless, for special reasons, the statements are considered unnecessary. After having received the assessors’ statements and the statement on the applicant’s teaching skills, the faculty council shall decide whether to submit to the chancellor a proposal for granting the title of docent.

A docent is entitled to participate in the teaching of his or her discipline, supervision of students and the examination of dissertations and theses, as well as in other University activities as agreed on a case-by-case basis.

1) The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry accepts applications for the title of docent twice a year. The application periods are 1-31 January and 1-31 August.

2) Before submitting an application, prospective applicants are required to contact a relevant head of department. Contact details: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/faculty-of-agriculture-and-forestry/faculty/departments-and-units

3) After the application period has finished, the Research and Infrastructure Committee of the faculty will process the fields of the docentship applications.

4) The Faculty Council names the assessors for each docentship application according to the proposal of the Head of Department.

5) After the assessors have been named, the Faculty’s Teaching Skills Committee evaluates the applicant’s teaching skills (including the demonstration lecture). The applicant will be sent separate instructions on how to book a time slot for the demonstration lecture.

6) The Faculty Council will process the application the second time, once the assessor statements and the teaching skills evaluation statement have been received. If the applicant fulfils the requirements set for the title of docent, the Faculty Council will make a proposal to the Chancellor for the applicant’s nomination as docent at the University of Helsinki.

7) The Chancellor decides on whether the title of the docent is granted to the applicant.

Applicants should take into consideration that the application process is extensive, spanning several months from the date of submission.

Application materials (preferably in English)

  1. An English-language application written by the applicant, indicating:
  • The field of the prospective nomination
  • The title of the applicant's demonstration lecture in the field of the prospective nomination
  • An applicant from outside Finland must also present a copy of his/her passport

2. An English-language CV and a certificate of language skills (copies of certificates attesting to the applicant’s skills in the Finnish and Swedish languages must accompany the application) as well as a brief English-language report of the following:

  • Research and scientific activities
  • Involvement in administrative duties
  • Other activities which the applicant wishes to bring to the Faculty’s attention

3.  Description of teaching qualifications (Applicants are asked to follow the guidelines and to describe their teaching qualifications in as much detail as possible)

The above documents (sections 2-3) can also be submitted as an academic portfolio.

4. A numbered list of publications. The listed publications should be classified as follows:

a) Articles in international scientific journals with referee practice

b) Articles in international scientific compilation works and international scientific conference proceedings with referee practice

c) Articles in Finnish scientific journals with referee practice

d) Articles in Finnish scientific compilation works and Finnish scientific conference proceedings with referee practice

e) Scientific monographs

f) Other scientific publications, such as articles in scientific non-refereed journals and publications in university and institute series. In addition, other publications (textbooks, articles popularising science, etc.), patents, computer programs, presentations, visiting lectures, radio and TV programmes, etc., may be listed separately. In the case of unpublished manuscripts, the applicant shall specify the stage of the publishing process at the time of the closing of the applications.

5. those works (original copy/offprint/photocopy) contained in the list of publications with which the applicant wishes to demonstrate his or her competence in the field of the docentship. If these publications contain coauthored publications, the applicant must provide an account of the division of labour between the authors.

The Faculty requests that prospective applicants for a docentship first consult with a relevant head of department or discipline coordinator before submitting an application.

The applications for the title of docent are submitted through the University of Helsinki Electronic Recruitment System. The application periods are 1-31 January and 1-31 August. Applications can be submitted only during the application period.

More detailed instructions on the electronic recruitment system will be updated on this page prior to the application period.

The Faculty Council will appoint a minimum of two assessors, preferably from outside the Faculty, to evaluate the applicant's academic competence in a written statement, unless, for special reasons, the statements are deemed unnecessary. The statements may be deemed to be unnecessary, if, for example, a statement by a minimum of two assessors on the applicant’s academic qualifications in the field of the docentship is already available. The disqualification of assessors will be governed by the provisions of the Act on Administrative Procedure (Act No. 434/2003, Sections 27-28). The examiner of the applicant’s Licentiate thesis or the pre-examiner or Opponent of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation may not be appointed as an assessor.

Application documents to be submitted to the assessors:

  • freely formulated letter of application,
  • English-language CV or English-language academic portfolio,
  • list of publications, and
  • those works (attachments to the application) contained in the list of publications with which the applicant wishes to demonstrate his or her competence in the field of the docentship. If these publications contain co-authored publications, the applicant must provide an account of the division of labour between the authors.

In their statements, the assessors will be asked to evaluate the following:

  • the quality and quantity of the applicant’s academic publications by subject area;
  • The Faculty’s requirement for docentships is an approved doctoral dissertation and other publications so that the publications in the relevant field of teaching together equal the academic standard and number of at least two doctoral dissertations approved with the grade good.
  • the thoroughness of the applicant’s knowledge of the field of the docentship in question, and
  • the applicant’s ability to do independent scientific research work;
  • For example, the significance of the applicant’s contribution to co-authored publications, the applicant’s own personal research approach, if any, and the applicant’s experience of leading research work.
  • Does competence in the field of the docentship require practical experience in the field? Does the applicant have practical experience in the field and if so, what kind?
  • Is the applicant academically qualified? Can the assessor recommend his or her nomination as docent?

Assessors are not asked to evaluate the applicant’s teaching qualifications, as these will be evaluated separately.

  • At the moment, during the exceptional circumstances teaching demonstrations are organised only remotely (via Zoom)
  • The teaching demonstrations related to recruitment processess are prioritised
  • Teaching skills are evaluated according to the teaching skills assessment matrix as per usual
  • If there are technical difficulties during a teaching demonstration (i.e. force majeure), the applicant can give another teaching demonstration

The assessment of the applicant's teaching skills is based on the teaching skills assessment matrix.

According to the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, a docent must have at least good teaching skills. For an applicant to be admitted to a teaching demonstration, the applicant must have mainly at least satisfactory teaching skills based on the information in the docentship application documents. The criteria for the different teaching skill levels are described in the Viikki teaching skills assessment matrix.

The applicant shall give a demonstration of his or her teaching skills, unless this is, for special reasons, deemed unnecessary. The demonstration of teaching skills may be deemed to be unnecessary, if, for example, the applicant has given a demonstration of teaching skills when applying for an equivalent post or position at the University of Helsinki in the last three years. The Faculty’s Teaching Skills Committee considers exemption requests on a case-by-case basis.

The lecture to be given as a demonstration of teaching skills should be seen as a learning situation. When evaluating a demonstration of teaching skills, primary attention will be given to the applicant’s ability to steer and enhance the audience’s learning during the lecture.

All teaching demonstrations are open to the public. The demonstration lecture is attended and evaluated by the Teaching Skills Committee. The Committee consists of teaching and research staff as well as students of the faculty.

The topic, level, duration and language of the demonstration of teaching skills
Applicants are free to choose the topic of their lecture. The topic should, however, be relevant to the field of the docentship. When planning the demonstration of teaching skills, the applicant should take into consideration that the lecture is an authentic learning situation and address it to the audience present. The topic should be narrowed down appropriately so that the content of the lecture can be discussed in 30 minutes, which is the maximum length of the demonstration of teaching skills. At the beginning of the lecture, the applicant must specify the level of the intended audience (basic-, intermediate- or advanced-level students) and the course or module to which the lecture belongs. The applicant is free to choose the manner and means of delivering the teaching demonstration.

Feedback
After the demonstration of teaching skills, the applicant must leave the room and the Teaching Skills Committee will discuss the lecture with the audience (approx. 15 minutes). Then the applicant and the Teaching Skills Committee will meet for a feedback discussion (approx. 15 minutes), which will be taken into consideration in the assessment of the applicant’s teaching skills.

Statement
The teaching skills assessment committee will submit a statement on the applicant’s teaching qualifications (teaching skills) to the Faculty Council. The statement will be based on the demonstration of teaching skills given by the applicant and the teaching qualifications reported in the application documents.

The Faculty Council will decide whether the applicant fulfils the requirements for the title of docent. The decision will be based on the assessors’ statements on the academic competence of the applicant, the teaching skills assessment committee’s statement on the applicant’s teaching qualifications and on the application documents revealing the applicant’s language skills.

If the applicant fulfils the requirements set for the title of docent, the Faculty Council will make a proposal to the Chancellor for the applicant’s nomination as docent at the University of Helsinki.

For more information about the application process, please contact HR Specialist Mirkka Juntunen, mirkka.juntunen(at)helsinki.fi and HR Coordinator Sari Aaltonen, sari.aaltonen(at)helsinki.fi.