Teaching Excellence Framework

MDU has a Teaching Excellence Framework meaning that teachers can apply for qualification for two consecutive levels:

  1. recognised university teacher
  2. distinguished university teacher

Eligible to apply

The teachers who can apply to be assessed according to the educational qualification ladder are those who:

  • are employed until further notice as a teacher at Mälardalen University
  • hold an academic education at Master’s level (60-credits) as a minimum or the equivalent
  • hold a University teaching education of 10 weeks/15 credits or the equivalent
  • have done the course Pedagogisk portfölj (Teaching Portfolio) or the equivalent

Application procedure

The applications for an educational qualification assessment are handled once a year and must be submitted to the HR Division by 1 October at the latest. The application will be classified according to the educational qualification ladder (i.e., it is not possible to indicate which level you are applying for).

The application is currently not open.

Please enclose with your application:

  • Teaching portfolio in accordance with the Mälardalen University model, text or web-based. (Teaching portfolio_firstname.lastname)
  • Attachments to the portfolio (Attachments_firstname.lastname)
  • CV (​CV_firstname.lastname)
  • Name and contact details for two referees (Contact person_firstname.lastname)
  • Course certificate or Ladok transcript of the completed course on how to compile an educational portfolio or the equivalent (Portfoliocourse_firstname.lastname)
  • Course certificate or Ladok transcript of the completed higher education teaching and learning course of at least 15 credits/10 weeks or the equivalent. (Higher education teaching course, firstname.lastname)

The application will be judged by external educational experts and any decision about a nomination as a recognised or distinguished university teacher will take place after a drafting by the Recruitment Committee. The decision will be sent by email during the month of March of the following year at the latest.


The application can have the following outcomes: 1) no classification given 2) recognised university teacher 3) distinguished university teacher. The Committee’s decision is final.

Salary increment

A distinguished university teacher will after their nomination get a salary increment of 1500 SEK.

Teacher qualification at another higher education institution

When a teacher is appointed who has been evaluated as a recognised university teacher or distinguished university teacher at another HEI a validation is done by a specialist at Lärum or an external expert and any classification is conducted by the Dean.

Level – Recognised university teacher (Qualified Teaching Practitioner)

A recognised university teacher is expected to have teaching experience over and above that which is expected in order to be appointed as a teacher at Mälardalen University. For the recognised university teacher qualification level what is highlighted is the teacher’s commitment and ability in their meeting with students, in their planning, conducting, doing summative assessments, their evaluation and development of their teaching.

  • The teacher has a wide teaching experience
  • The teacher supports the students’ learning by developing themselves and their teaching in a deliberate and reflective way
  • The teacher highlights their teaching practice in relation to proven experience and higher education teaching and learning theory
  • The teacher carries out an internal collegial collaboration effort to develop higher education teaching and learning

Level 2 – Distinguished university teacher (Excellent Teaching Practitioner)

A distinguished university teacher is expected to have teaching experience above that which is required for a recognised university teacher level. For a distinguished university teacher level, the focus is on academic teaching and deliberate dissemination of knowledge.

  • The teacher fulfils the criteria for a recognised university teacher
  • The teacher supports student learning by investigating and systematically developing their own educational practice by practical application and theoretical reflection.
  • The teacher has a scholarly approach to their educational training, and they document and communicate their higher education teaching and learning skills
  • The teacher carries out an external collegial collaboration effort to enhance higher educational development​

Details of the criteria

So that teachers can get an understanding of what lies behind the criteria, the thinking is explained below that forms the basis of the criteria.

Recognised university teacher

The following criteria must be fulfilled in order to qualify as a recognised university teacher.

• The teacher has a wide teaching experience

Teaching expertise can only be developed through a significant amount of practice, proven experience and a sound basis in educational theory. This takes time to develop. Regarding the scope of the teaching, the tradition is to count the number of teaching hours or lecturing hours. The number of teaching hours cannot give a secure indication of teaching expertise however, even if it can give you a hint. How much time is needed is difficult to estimate, which is why we do not include it here.

Teaching experience can be partly described through the application of several different teaching methods. It can also be described with a specific, specialised and developed teaching strategy related to the teacher’s experience of other types of instruction. Teaching experience should in the first instance be gained from the University and be based on teaching at Bachelor’s, Master’s and/or Research studies (third-cycle) level. Also supervision of academic papers and research falls under the concept teaching experience. In some instances structural constraints exist which mean that a teacher has only had the opportunity to teach at one of the levels. Such constraints (or similar constraints) must be taken into account and not hamper a positive assessment. Observe that several general skills are considered to be able to be developed regardless of which type of school and level of teaching experience that has been attained.

Sometimes frameworks exist that can hinder a teacher’s opportunity to variate their teaching (regarding type of instruction, course level, breadth of subject, opportunity for getting teaching hours for instance) so is it important to consider the context that the teacher is working in.

The teacher supports the students’ learning by developing themselves and their teaching in a deliberate and reflective way

The teacher has a duty to work for student learning and develop their teaching and therefore must also develop themselves in their own learning process.

Development of teaching and support for student’s learning can be shown through various forms of pedagogical work. Regardless of the type of teaching post the teacher is expected to adhere to and update their teaching in relation to (1) higher education teaching and learning theory and research, (2) scientific advancement within the teaching subject and (3) internal and external operations which affect the teaching that one is involved with in different ways. Examples of internal operations can be the development of courses/programmes, mode of assessment, types of instruction or multidisciplinary cooperation. External operations can for instance be cooperation with working life, contact with primary and secondary schools, health-care establishments, and the private sector.

• The teacher describes and highlights their teaching practice in relation to proven experience and educational theory

The applicant shall have a well-developed educational ability and their own ideas about educational/didactic questions. In normal cases this means that the applicant has shown a good planning ability and is able to conduct teaching at Bachelor’s level and/or Research Studies level. This means that the teacher must declare at least some form of theoretical background which is relevant to their argumentation and their understanding of the subject in question. They must be able to articulate their theoretical knowledge and the application of this, after having been through the higher education teaching and learning skills. It is expected that the level of the theoretical knowledge should be equivalent to at least 10 weeks of higher education teaching and learning skills or similar.

• The teacher runs an internal collaboration effort for the development of higher education teaching and learning

A highly organised teacher must collaborate and interact at several different levels at the University. The requirement for collaboration is applicable to all levels – from students and colleagues to administrators and management. Some teachers have duties that are more extroverted than others, such as Clinical Lecturers on the health sciences programmes and Placement Coordinators on the teacher education programmes. Others, because of various frameworks, have limited or increased opportunities to collaborate outwardly in the organisation. Therefore the basic criteria of a well organised teacher must be considered who collaborates in a natural way when it is required and pertinent. Possibly it can be regarded that the teacher works and collaborates in an appropriate way in the organisation. The criteria are therefore important to highlight this often unstated expectation so that the correct teacher is awarded the qualification.

Distinguished university teacher

• The teacher fulfils the criteria for a recognised university teacher

The distinguished university teacher level is based on the recognised university teacher level. This means that all the criteria for the recognised university teacher level must be fulfilled at the same time as the criteria for a distinguished university teacher are fulfilled. There must be a clear development and progression between both. The point is that the criteria for a distinguished university teacher will reflect this.

• The teacher supports student learning by investigating and systematically developing their own educational practice by practical application and theoretical reflection

The criteria allude to educational research and development where the focus is to create the best conditions possible to encourage student learning. Higher education teaching and learning theory and practice are integrated to develop the best possible teaching. A major requirement (compared with the recognised university teacher level) is on theoretical anchoring, systematic and strategic development towards specific and stated goals. There is also a requirement for documentation – see the next criterion.

• The teacher has a scientific approach to their educational training, and they document and communicate their higher education teaching and learning skills

The criteria focus on the teacher’s academic teaching skills – an investigative, developing and scientific approach with regard to analysing your own practice (equivalent to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)). The teacher has skills in higher education teaching and learning and subject didactics, based on both experience and theory, the outcomes of which are made public and available for peer review. Theory and practice are integrated and analysed in a deliberate and reflective way and the knowledge is disseminated in order to further develop it. There are no specific requirements on how the dissemination should take place but for instance in publications, various types of reports, conference contributions and articles in national and/or international journals which demand quality and documentation.

• The teacher runs an external collaboration effort for the development of higher education teaching and learning

This collaboration is assumed to be of great importance for the exchange of information and the dissemination of the outcome. To achieve as wide a dissemination as possible, it is encouraged to have different types of collaboration with other subject areas, higher education institutions, and/or the surrounding community. The teacher’s work and excellent knowledge of education and teaching shall be of benefit to the subject area, department and/or university in order to bring about (has already brought about ) educational development. It is not the scope of the different collaboration projects that is crucial but rather the quality, approach and dissemination.

MDU model

The teaching portfolio is a qualitative description of the teacher’s educational operations. The majority of the content is reflection and self-evaluation, known as metacognition and shows both the process and the product. It is expected that the teacher collects, documents, organises, reflects on and presents their teaching experiences. The foundation of the teaching portfolio makes the assessment of educational skills possible which is why a traditional CV is an inadequate document in this regard.

  • Lärum provides an annual course

Building a teaching portfolio​

The teaching portfolio is divided into a main section made up of text comprising max. 8 pages and is written according to a fixed structure with the following main headings:

  1. My teaching philosophy
  2. How I support student learning
  3. How I develop as a teacher
  4. How I contribute to the development of the organisation as a whole

There is no requirement to fill in all the headings or all the sections with text or content and an teaching portfolio that has a lot of content does not automatically mean that you are educationally skilled.

Please note that when a ”teacher” is mentioned in the descriptive text below, this means all higher education teaching and learning operations such as first-cycle (Bachelors), third-cycle (Research/Doctoral Studies) and contract education. In the same way a ”student”, when mentioned in the text, can be interpreted as everything from Bachelor students, students studying by distance to research students.

When assessing an teaching portfolio as wide an interpretation as possible of the term “teacher” and ”student” is used.

In order to write a qualification portfolio please find below a guideline and some tips and advice on what you should write under each heading or section.

1. My teaching philosophy

The teaching philosophy is represented by the values, the opinions and the experiences that serve as a foundation for your work as a teacher. This teaching philosophy is decisive for how you treat your students and you are therefore expected to describe your points of departure, goals and frameworks that influence your achievements as a teacher. What are your views on knowledge, education and knowledge development? How do you view the relationship between education and the surrounding community and how do you reflect on issues concerning equal opportunities, gender equality and equal treatment in a teaching context?

Take care in the whole document to highlight, using concrete examples where possible, how the teaching philosophy is reflected in your teaching efforts so that your qualification portfolio conveys a complete logical and educational message.

Please refer to relevant literature that supports your teaching philosophy.

2. How I work with learning development for students

The student’s learning development can be described so that they develop an ability to learn and experience, plan and take responsibility for their education, carry out independent and critical assessments, independently distinguish, formulate and solve problems, find information and communicate with various media. In the area that concerns education, the student shall, in addition to developing knowledge and skills, also develop the ability to search and evaluate knowledge at a scientific level, follow knowledge development and exchange knowledge with people that do not have specific knowledge within the area. In this way, students are more prepared to deal with changes in society and their future working lives.

By describing a selection of your educational experience and reflecting about concrete teaching situations you can show how you support the development of the student’s abilities and how the targets are achieved in the Higher Education Act. To document your thoughts you can make a selection of your educational experiences and verify them using concrete examples from course evaluations, change management based on these evaluations, study guidance, teaching activities and/or summative assessments. Using a few detailed examples describe how you work and think in your educational achievements, while answering the questions what, how, why and with what results, in line with your own teaching philosophy.

It should be obvious in the text how you activate students to be responsible for their own learning and how you inspire the students to be committed and interested in the subject in question. Please describe how you structure and organise the body of knowledge in various courses and how you communicate with your students. Show how you use variation, breath and creativity in a teaching context and how you develop teaching through your own reflection.

If possible, you can link your description of teaching to educational models and current theories about learning.

3. How I work with my own development as a teacher

Your own teaching development is about how you plan and take responsibility for your own professional development as a teacher or supervisor in first-cycle (Bachelors) and third-cycle (Research Studies) education. By contemplating your own experiences, you can certainly point out any development needs and set up future goals.

What factors have influenced your ability to structure and organise the teaching in the various courses? How do you want to develop your own teaching role and what is required so that you can renew your teaching skills when necessary? Please describe how you have developed your role as a teacher and how you plan to meet the future needs of University teachers. You may for instance comment any changes in your thinking that can be linked to course evaluations, zeitgeist, your own maturity or research in the area.

It is also important that you describe your own development in line with the teaching philosophy using concrete examples, literature and research to back up your views.

4. How I contribute to the development of the organisation as a whole

An educationally adept teacher contributes to the organisational development of knowledge and learning at their own higher education institution but has also perhaps external contacts with the surrounding community. The teacher develops visions, formulates strategies, communicates about education and teaching, motivates, inspires and supports initiatives regarding collaboration and change. This can occur by sharing experiences, addressing questions and revitalising the educational debate concerning courses, programmes and faculties.

How do you collaborate with other teachers in your approach to develop both your own and others’ teaching? Do you publish your educational work in the form of reports, lectures, contributions to conferences or seminars? Are you an innovator in some educational question and/or in the development of courses, programmes and supervisory strategies? In this case you most likely contribute to the organisational development of the teaching at the University and should, using these questions as a point of departure, account for your work and your thoughts.​​

​​Other sections – for your attachments

In the teaching portfolio main section there is a reference to documentation in other sections of the portfolio. The different sections are used to systemise and strengthen the operations/process that is described in the main section by attaching various types of certificates and documents as attachments consisting of more quantitative qualifications.

It will not always be necessary to use all the documents held in the portfolio. It may be appropriate to exclude certain sections or points, but you should strive for as comprehensive an educational qualification as possible. To reduce the number of documents, it is recommended that you make a qualitative selection of the documents. Draw up a list of the other documents under the respective section. You must be able to present the listed documents on request. Keep in mind that it is you who decide what a qualification is.

The following sections are used for documenting:

A. Teaching achievements
B. Pedagogical education
C. Research and development on education
D. Development of study resources and teaching media
E. Experience of educational planning and educational administration
F. Education and outreach work
G. Miscellaneous

The content in the sections should provide a platform for evaluation without referring to additional documents or websites, even though these can of course be mentioned for more in-depth reading.

Section A: Teaching achievements​

Under this tab you should record the more quantitative information from your teaching. What do your teaching achievements and experience look like? How do students or other third parties perceive your teaching achievements? Feel free to use the below examples in order to be able to produce a comprehensive report as possible.

  • Students’ course evaluations
  • Documented changes based on course evaluations
  • Documentation from teaching planning
  • Supervision of first-cycle (Bachelor) and third-cycle (Research Studies) education
  • Teaching awards
  • Opinions from Head of Department or Director of Studies
  • Scope of teaching experience
  • Breadth of teaching experience (variation, different levels, different target groups, various subjects)

The teaching results described in the main section are supported, for example, by attaching compilations of course evaluations, statistics on student completion rate, documented changes based on course evaluations or other experiences for instance. Please attach awards, statements and employment certificates from the Head of Department or Director of Studies from the appropriate department or other certificates that support your overview.

Section B: Pedagogical education

Pedagogical education and scientific education in the teaching subject will of course always provide a useful qualification. Here you can report your formal pedagogical and subject-related education that is relevant for the qualification assessment, check the below examples:

  • Education in higher education teaching and learning
  • Teacher education
  • Academic education with educational relevance
  • Other education with educational relevance
  • Academic education in the teaching subject/subjects

Examples of documents are course certificates, grades, certificates, reports and academic papers that have been produced in conjunction with pedagogical education.

Section C: Research and development on education

Here you can document your development and/or research in the educational domain, for example participation in study trips or conferences with an educational purpose. Some examples of research and development efforts concerning education are:

  • Course and programme development
  • Pilot schemes and development projects
  • Study trips
  • Educational conferences
  • Educational and didactic reports
  • (Research) articles
  • International/national/internal/external assignments that are linked to educational issues
  • Participation in national or international teacher exchanges

The documentation can consist of project descriptions, received project funding, course syllabuses, application for funding for course development, certificates, conference programmes, reports, articles published in various journals, granting decisions and judgements from references. Make sure that the documentation describes both the type of work, the scope and form of grade of independence.

Section D: Development of study resources and teaching media

Have you developed study resources or other forms of teaching media? Please use this section for collecting these qualifications. Examples of study resources and teaching media are:

  • Textbooks, compendiums, course material, self-study material
  • Instructions for laboratory work
  • Web-based courses
  • Film, video and sound production, illustrative and training material

Attach documents such as a selection of study resources of different types, a link to a course website, a CD with current material or statements/opinions such as reviews or certificates.

Section E: Experience of educational planning and educational administration

Experience from programme syllabus and/or teaching administration can be described in the teaching portfolio’s main section. Here you can present documents that highlight and certify the development and administration of courses and study programmes such as:

  • Assignments such as Director of Studies or the equivalent, Management Group operations, study counsellor, course coordinator and similar duties.
  • Independent responsibility: management, planning, carrying out higher education teaching and learning development projects.
  • Evaluations and investigations, for example programme evaluations and student completion rates.
  • Board work or other types of honorary positions.

Examples of documents are programme syllabuses and certificates that underline what you have previously described in the main section, appointments, investigations, reports, letters, etc. Make sure that your documentation also describes work duties, scope and timeframes.

Section F: Education and outreach work

It is the duty of the University to reach out to the general public and inform them of their operations and activities. This can occur through education and outreach information that is conveyed in a simple and easy to understand manner and not aimed at experts. If you have been involved in working with these types of tasks you can document it here.

Examples of education and outreach work can be presentations, information, descriptions or articles in various types of journals.

This type of documentation can be certificates, opinions, reports and articles published in the daily press or popular scientific journals.

Section G: Miscellaneous

In this section you can present various types of active participation in the educational discussion that cannot be classified in any other section, such as for instance:

  • Assignments outside the University
  • Honorary positions
  • Contact/cooperation with student associations
  • Mentorship
  • Collaboration with the surrounding community

Proof of activities can be reports, certificates, opinions and judgements from references, for example.​​​