On Thursday 18 June, Rector Magnificus Professor Elmer Sterken awarded the first 15 Senior Teaching Qualifications (STQ) to University of Groningen lecturers. The ceremony was the culmination of the University’s STQ programme, which was introduced as a pilot at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences in 2013 and was implemented across the University in 2014-2015. The programme is a result of the University’s performance agreements with the Minister of Education. These agreements state that the University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) is the first step in lecturer professionalization and that this will continue in the form of the STQ.
During the informal ceremony in the Academy Building, Professor Sterken emphasized the importance of the STQ programme. ‘Good teaching must be valued in the organization. The University of Groningen will offer much clearer career prospects to lecturers who shine in teaching. This is something we are also working on in the new University strategic plan. I see the STQ programme as a way to facilitate this.’
Professor Harry Garretsen, Chair of the University of Groningen UTQ-STQ Committee, was one of the five committee members who conducted the final interviews with the candidates. ‘These lecturers have certainly earned the STQ certificate. The programme comprised a number of modules, and over the year the candidates worked to improve degree programmes or aspects of them. In the final interviews we asked the candidates critical questions on the value of the projects that they had carried out, both for themselves and the organization. We discovered that fundamental educational and administrative problems had been revealed during this STQ programme.’
‘This means that this STQ programme and the approach taken has proven its worth, if only because the candidates had the opportunity to exchange their experiences of teaching with staff from other faculties. Many candidates said that they had learnt most from each other. Each faculty may have chosen a specific structure for its programmes, but you realize that at a higher level the opportunities to improve quality are the same. That is what makes this such a good thing. We need to create more such opportunities in the future.’
A further group of candidates are currently busy completing their STQ file. This is expected to result in five more certificates in 2015. Although this does not make the University of Groningen the first university in the Netherlands with an STQ, the University is in the top six in the Netherlands. Following the positive reactions from the past candidates, an STQ programme for 2015-2016 will start after the summer for 14 new candidates from across the University.
The following earned their STQ certificates in the first or second STQ programmes:
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