Skills development for lecturers – University of Copenhagen

Skills development for lecturers

The Faculty of Social Sciences focuses on educational theory and practice in teaching and has established a number of measures that support the objective of developing the quality of teaching, including that all academic staff with teaching duties must regularly take part in skills development, e.g. via teaching-related continuing and further education. The faculty offers a range of skills-development options, customised to suit the lecturer’s responsibilities, experience and interests.

Professors and associate professors

All permanently employed professors and associate professors are appointed on the basis of documented teaching qualifications, as per the Faculty of Social Sciences’ procedures. The faculty places great importance on providing continuous support for skills development for its teaching staff. This is done through:

New PhD supervisors, i.e. those who started supervision in 2010 or later, as well as PhD supervisors who have not supervised students for at least three years but who started to do so in 2010 or later, must take a compulsory course on PhD supervision. The Teaching and Learning Unit of Social Sciences runs the course, which stretches over two days.

Assistant professors/postdocs

The University has published guidelines for the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education programme for assistant professors to ensure that they are qualified for the various teaching duties and to optimise students’ learning outcomes.

As per the faculty’s rules regarding responsibility, assistant professors are obliged to take the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education programme.
Many postdocs with more limited teaching duties may also participate in this programme.

Read the Faculty of Social Sciences’ rules for the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education programme.

PhD students

The vast majority of PhD students teach one or more courses during their period of employment. These may be courses linked to their research project, which they teach on their own, or parts of the teaching on a course run by another (more experienced) lecturer. The Teaching and Learning Unit of Social Sciences runs a two-day course in teaching practice (during August/January) specifically tailored for PhD students. PhD students are also welcome to attend the other Teaching and Learning Unit of Social Sciences courses, e.g. on educational theory and practice in student supervision. In addition, they may attend the introductory meeting for new teaching staff, run by the head of studies.

Part-time lecturers and teaching assistants

On appointment, all part-time teaching staff are offered the chance to take part in a two-day course in teaching practice (during August/January) in the Teaching and Learning Unit of Social Sciences. Each semester, the head of studies holds an introductory meeting about teaching, at which the types of courses, forms of exam, evaluation procedures, exam cheating, feedback and compendia are discussed. The faculty library also runs sessions on the use of the University’s e-learning system, Absalon.

Teaching assistants/tutors

Most bachelor programmes in the faculty use teaching assistants/tutors for practice classes, etc. Before every semester (in August/January), the Teaching and Learning Unit of Social Sciences runs a two-day course in teaching practice, which is attended by many teaching assistants/tutors. In some cases, taking this course is a prerequisite for acting as a teaching assistant/tutor. Teaching assistants will receive pay during their participation in the course.

Continuing education

The Teaching and Learning Unit of Social Sciences seeks to maintain a dialogue with all teaching staff to enhance teaching in the faculty. It does so by running courses ( and by interviewing individuals, as well as by organising working groups, theme afternoons and longer courses, where appropriate. Topics include teaching theory and practice, supervision, theory and practice of supervision, study-start programmes, programme management, research-based teaching, exams and e-learning.

In 2008, the University of Copenhagen set up the Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP) ( Its core activities include research-based language courses ( in English and Danish, which are tailored to meet different needs at the University. As an increasing number of courses in the Faculty of Social Sciences are in English, many of the teaching staff have taken the courses on teaching in English.

Projects and activities involving groups of lecturers

The departments also run a continuous series of projects, seminars, courses, etc., designed to develop the quality of teaching.


In cooperation with the head of studies, the head of department is responsible for ensuring that the permanent lecturers' skills are developed on an ongoing basis. The head of studies is responsible for the skills development of part-time academic staff and teaching assistants. The head of studies is, thus, responsible for ensuring that new lecturers and part-time teaching staff are introduced to teaching assignments. The overall responsibility rests with the dean, who every three years reports to the rector on the pedagogical skills development.