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Tenure track

The Tenure track procedure at the University of Vaasa offers an excellent opportunity to build a successful academic career as part of our internationally renowned and diverse working community.

Our Tenure track positions are filled based on open international competition. We invite applications from candidates in a range of different career stages. Based on your merits and experience, your starting point on the Tenure track is usually a fixed-term position as either an Assistant Professor (4 years) or Associate Professor (5 years). Should you meet all the qualification requirements and demonstrate particular merit, an appointment directly to the position of a Professor may be considered. Individual job ads indicate which Tenure track stages applications will primarily be considered for.

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The Tenure track procedure enables you to progress through regular evaluations to the position of Professor. Depending on your career stage, successful evaluations can lead to a new Tenure track term or to tenure as a Professor via the invitation procedure.

In order to allow sufficient time for preparations and assessment by external experts, the formal evaluation process is initiated at least one year before the term ends. During you Tenure track term, regular progress reviews are held to support professional development plans and activities.

The University of Vaasa’s close-knit working community makes collaboration with colleagues effortless.  Various roles and bodies within the University ensure the successful implementation of the Tenure track process and provide support throughout your Tenure track term.

Appointment Committee

Manages and ensures a consistent Tenure track recruitment and promotional process throughout the University. In addition to the Chair, Secretary and the Dean of the School where the position is located, the Appointment Committee members include a Dean from another School and 1-2 Professors representing the field in question.

Deans

Responsible for key activities during your Tenure track term and ensure that common principles with regards to way-of-working are implemented in the Schools.  They also play a key role as members of the Appointment Committee.

Managers/Supervisors

Provide ongoing support and guidance. Take part in the regular evaluations during the Tenure track term.

Rector

Allocates Tenure track positions to schools and approves the research orientation of the position. Based on the Appointment Committee’s proposal, decides on Tenure track appointments and promotions.

Research Platform Directors

Some Tenure track positions are orientated towards the activities of one of our three research platforms. In these cases, the Director of the research platform participates in the Appointment Committee, target setting and regular reviews during your Tenure track term.

In these cases the Director of the research platform participates in the Appointment Committee, target setting and regular reviews during your Tenure track term.

The Tenure track positions are research-oriented, but also include teaching, thesis supervision, seeking external funding for research projects and university administrative tasks according to your career stage.

Typical responsibilities at the various career stages are listed below. For a more detailed description, please see and/or contact the persons mentioned in the individual job ad.

  • The duties of the Assistant Professor include independent post-doctoral research as well as duties within teaching and university administration. The Assistant Professor may also supervise students writing their bachelor's or master's theses and act as a second supervisor for doctoral theses.
  • The duties of the Associate Professor include independent scientific research and responsible research-oriented organizational tasks. Within the discipline, the Associate Professor will participate extensively in teaching and theses supervision. The Associate Professor is also required to participate actively in planning research and development projects, acquiring external funding and international collaboration. The Associate Professor carries an overall responsibility of duties within research, education, and university administration within his/her special field.
  • The Professor leads research together with other Professors within the same discipline and provides research-based teaching and supervision. The Professor's responsibilities have emphasis on developing and managing the research group. The Professor defines the orientation of research in the research group, taking into account the general development in the discipline and the University's strategic lines, and guides younger colleagues towards this orientation. The Professor manages and develops education of the discipline. The Professor is also responsible for the quality of research and teaching, builds and maintains research and education networks nationally and internationally as well as participates in societal interaction. The Professor develops and initiates research projects and acquires external funding for them.

Within two months of the start of employment, targets for the Tenure track term are discussed and agreed in more detail. The targets are agreed taking into account  career stage and subject/field of the candidate. 

Working time

The annual working time is 1612 hours based on the general collective agreement for Finnish universities. A detailed task description is always agreed annually and documented in the annual work plan. During the first year of the first Tenure track term it is recommended that the selected candidate undertakes a lower amount of teaching duties in order to focus on establishing research activities and integrating into the working environment.

University of Vaasa is committed to the principles of the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which sets out a number of recommendations for the way in which the quality of research output is evaluated. When assessing an applicant’s research, the content (e.g. research topics, methodologies and significance of the results) and the quality of the researcher’s publications as a whole are taken into consideration.

The University of Vaasa has also endorsed the common European recommendations and principles for HR practices aiming at better working conditions for researchers. We have already since 2014 implemented the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) programme.  In recognition of aligning and developing our policies and practices with the European charter and code, and our commitment to implement fair and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures, we have received the HR Excellence in Research recognition. 

A candidate’s merits and performance are assessed in the areas of scientific research, teaching, activities in the scientific community, and societal impact.

1. Scientific research

  • Scientific output and the scientific influence of research
    • Peer-reviewed publications
    • Scientific citations (taking into consideration the practices prevailing within the discipline)
    • Other research publications
  • Acquiring external financing

2. Research plan for the Tenure track term

The research plan details how the candidate would direct their research from the perspective of their own discipline towards the focus of the position described in the call for applications and the strategic focus of the University of Vaasa’s research. The plan must include a description of the phenomena concerned, the perspective on the applicant's own subject and the added-value to be realised from analysing the phenomena as well as possible partners. lt is beneficial if the plan also includes potential sources of external financing (programmes or similar) and a publication plan. When progressing to the next Tenure track stage, note is also taken of how well the candidate has been able to realise his/her research plan for the period.

3. Teaching

  • Teaching experience (including supervising theses)
  • Teaching and learning material (including digital content)
  • Pedagogical training

4. Activities in scientific communities and societal impact

  • Scientific collaboration and academic networks
  • lnternational activity
  • Activity in the operations of scientific communities
  • Leading research and education
  • Societal impact and working with stakeholders

The aim is to identify the most capable applicant in terms of the subject and the applicant with the greatest potential from the University's perspective in terms of the future direction.

Applicants are required to have an applicable doctoral degree together with, academic merit as well as evidence of the potential to produce high quality research. This means evidence of research that meets high international standards and is published in highly-regarded journals, the teaching and supervision skills required in the position, and the ability to acquire external funding. In addition the successful candidate will have a broad network of collaborators and can show evidence of societal impact, scientific cooperation as well as international activities according to the career stage. Experience in development and administration within the academic community as well as pedagogical education are considered merits.

The illustrative merit requirements connected to recruitment for the different career stages are as shown in the table below. 

Assistant Professor

In order to have sufficient merit for the position of Assistant Professor in the Tenure track system, the applicant must have, in addition to their doctoral thesis or the publications therein, at least three peer-reviewed scientific publications or manuscripts approved for publication in their academic career. The publications must be classifiable according to recognised international criteria (including the national JUFO classification). Publications on the excellent or top level according to the recognised criteria in the field are considered an advantage. In addition, the applicant must have a research plan for the tenure track period, as well as the required teaching skills.

Associate Professor

In order to have sufficient merit for the position of Associate Professor, the applicant must have at least 10 peer-reviewed scientific publications, taking into account the discipline-specific international level on the whole. At least two of the publications must be at an excellent level internationally, taking into account the field’s definition of an internationally high level. In addition, the applicant must have a research plan for the tenure track period. Scientific work conducted abroad and demonstrations of international cooperation are beneficial for this position. Furthermore, applicants for the position of Associate Professor must have demonstrated their ability to acquire external research funding.

In addition, Associate Professors are required to have experience in the supervision of theses (at least as a second supervisor in doctoral theses) and demonstrations of successfully implemented teaching and pedagogical competence as well as the development and management of teaching. Associate Professors are also required to have the ability to lead a research group and manage research projects.

Professor

The candidate selected for the position of Professor is required to have a Doctorate degree, a high level of scientific competence, experience in leading scientific research and demonstrations of international cooperation in their field of research, as well as pedagogical competence (min. 10 ECTS) and the ability to provide high-quality research-based teaching and supervise theses. In addition, a professor must have the skills to act as an academic leader. A professor must also have demonstrations of the successful acquisition of external funding, active work in the scientific community and international collaboration in the field of research.

Selection for the position of Professor at the recruitment stage requires, in addition to the doctoral thesis or the publications therein, at least 20 peer-reviewed publications, taking into account the discipline-specific international level on the whole. At least four of the publications must be at an excellent level internationally, taking into account the field’s definition of an internationally high level.

Pedagogical studies

Pedagogical studies are an integral part of the University's career path structure for both teaching and research-focused positions. Candidates who do not at the start of employment possess the required amount of pedagogical studies, will during their Tenure track term undertake at least 3 ECTS of pedagogical studies per year until the objective of at least 15 ECTS is achieved.

Pedagogical studies are offered to staff both for those taking their first courses in pedagogy, as well as those who have already completed some pedagogical studies. In addition, the University offers a wide variety of short courses and workshops supporting pedagogical and digital teaching competence development, and the multidisciplinary network for teaching support provides peer support for developing teaching skills through consulting, training and co-development.

Language skills

The administrative language of the University of Vaasa is Finnish. The working languages are Finnish and English.

Section 1 of the Finnish Government Decree on Universities (707/2009) requires personnel recruited to teaching and research positions to be proficient in Finnish. However, if the candidate is a foreigner or a Finnish citizen who is not a native or has not been educated in Finnish, they may be granted an exemption from the Finnish language proficiency requirement. The selected candidate is expected to acquire the necessary language skills needed in the position in accordance with the University’s language policy.

The University supports the development of language skills e.g. by regularly organising language courses for members of staff as well as courses in intercultural communication. Further opportunities include taking part in the Language Learning Scheme and utilizing the comprehensive language course offering by the University of Vaasa's Open University. 

When the deadline for applications has passed, the Dean prepares a shortlist for applications to be included in the next steps of the selection process and makes a proposal for two external experts with relevance to the position to be used in the process.

Based on the shortlist and proposal made by the Dean, the Appointment Committee decides on the external experts and the applications to be included in the next steps of the process. The external experts are requested to provide a written assessment of the applicants' scientific qualifications and other merits within two months, as well as to give their views on which Tenure track level the applicant should be recruited to. The disqualification of an expert is subject to sections 27-29 of the Finnish Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003).

After receiving the expert statements, the Appointment Committee processes the statements and invites the applicants that it deems best for an interview. The Appointment Committee also decides on whether applicants are requested to provide a teaching demonstration (evaluated as part of the overall assessment of the applicant's teaching skills), take part in the evaluation of language skills and/or suitability assessments. 

Filling the position

The Appointment Committee makes an overall assessment on the eligibility and suitability of the candidate. At the same time, the Appointment Committee decides which level in the career path each of the best ranked applicants have reached. As a result of the overall assessment, the Appointment Committee prepares a detailed proposal to the University's Rector that the position be filled or that the initiative to fill the position be dropped. 

The appointment is subject to the satisfactory completion of a six-month trial period. 

A person fulfilling all qualification requirements and demonstrating particular merits may be appointed directly to the position of Professor on a permanent employment contract. This presupposes that all statements by the external experts find the applicant eligible for the position of Professor. The process for nominating a person to the position of Professor is specified in Section 33 of the Universities Act (558/2009) and the University of Vaasa's regulations.

Decrees

Appointments to positions are subject to the regulations in the Universities Act (558/2009), the Government Decree on Universities (770/2009), the Non-discrimination Act (1325/2014), the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003) disqualification provisions and the Regulations of the University of Vaasa.