University Teaching Qualification (BKO)
Good teaching is a skill in itself. In order to guarantee the quality of education in the Netherlands, the University Teaching Qualification (Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs, BKO) is now compulsory for all lecturers, university lecturers (UD), senior university lecturers (UHD) and professors. What does this qualification mean for you?
The BKO is a mark of quality used by all Dutch universities. It functions as a reliable frame of reference with respect to your didactic skills. The BKO track consists of a series of modules, allowing lecturers to assess and develop all facets of teaching. At the end of the track, you are awarded a BKO certificate. Once you have completed the BKO certification, you are qualified for all Dutch universities.
Do I need a BKO?
If you have an appointment for 0.5 FTE or more as lecturer, university lecturer (UD), senior university lecturer (UHD) or professor for one year or longer, you are required to be in possession of a BKO. If you were recently appointed and are not yet in possession of a BKO, you have two years to complete the BKO track. Without BKO you cannot be appointed on a permanent contract or promoted to a higher position.
Can I teach without a BKO?
If you do not need a BKO and are still required to teach, you are expected to improve your didactic skills. You may begin for instance by following the Starter’s Course in Basic Didactic Skills offered by ICLON. Some faculties have also developed their own courses. For more information, please contact your institute manager.
What does the BKO track look like?
The BKO track begins with an interview with your Faculty’s BKO contact person. He or she conducts an intake interview with you on behalf of the Faculty’s assessment committee. Based on your teaching experience, the assessment committee decides which learning outcomes you already meet and which you need to develop further. You have two years to create your portfolio and complete the BKO track. The University can support you in a number of ways. Once your porftolio is complete, it is re-assessed by the committee. If you meet all learning outcomes, you will be awarded a BKO certificate, signed by the Dean of your Faculty and the Vice Rector.
To obtain a BKO certificate, you have to create a portfolio of evidence that you meet the BKO learning outcomes. This portfolio should give the assessment committee a clear idea of your qualities. Your portfolio should in any case include the following:
- Student evaluations
- Your supervisor’s assessment
- Reflection on your own development as a teacher
- Advice from your colleague mentor (if you follow a training programme)
In addition, every Faculty sets additional portfolio requirements. For more information, please contact your BKO contact person. Your portfolio should also demonstrate that you meet the BKO learning outcomes.
What if I teach in English?
If you teach in English you are also required to complete an English Language Proficiency Qualification (Basiskwalificatie Taalvaardigheid Engels, BKE). The required level of English proficiency is C-1. The track consists of a test. If applicable, you will be awarded a separate BKE certificate, which you can include in your BKO portfolio.
Where can I complete the BKO track?
You can complete the BKO at Leiden University. If you have obtained a BKO certification from another Dutch University, it is also valid.
Support from Leiden University
Your BKO contact person can put you into contact with a personal mentor. The ICLON also offers a number of course modules to support teacher professionalisation. Finally, the University organises regular teaching sessions.
The FSW UTQ scheme consists of two parts: a training course provided by ICLON and the individual compilation of a UTQ portfolio. Successful completion of both parts is mandatory for the UTQ certificate. See this webpage for more information about the conditions and procedure of the FSW UTQ scheme.
The intake with the secretary is the first step for all UTQ candidates, after this the procedure can be initiated. When the above conditions are fulfilled, the candidate must send the complete UTQ portfolio (incl. appendices, see Sample UTQ portfolio and Terms and conditions for the UTQ portfolio) in pdf to the secretary of the UTQ Assessment Committee no later than 10 working days before a meeting.
Note: The same deadline applies to the submission of any exemption requests, or applications for partial certificates
The UTQ Assessment Committee will assess whether the competences for the final attainment level are met on the basis of the UTQ portfolio submitted by the candidate. If the UTQ Assessment Committee does not judge the UTQ portfolio to be sufficient, it will indicate which points require further supplementation and will retain the dossier so that the candidate can adjust it. The assessment is communicated to the candidate within 10 working days after the meeting date.
In the event of a positive assessment, the UTQ Assessment Committee decides to certify the candidate. The certificate is signed by the Vice-Rector and the Dean of the Faculty.
- 27 September 2022
- 12 December 2022
- 13 February 2023
- 17 April 2023
- 19 June 2023
UTQ training programme
The UTQ training programme is offered by ICLON and consists of the following 5 UTQ modules. These modules are offered once a year.
How to design a course
Delivery of education
Testing and assessment
Supervising thesis students
- Inclusive education - reaching all your students
Enrolment for the UTQ modules is done directly at the ICLON. Approximately 10 lecturers can participate per module. Lecturers are advised to follow the entire course at once, although the possibility exists to follow partial modules. Upon successful completion of a sub-module, a sub-certificate will be awarded, which will remain valid for three years to obtain the UTQ certificate within FSW.
The Implementation Regulation contains information on the fees to be settled.
Compilation of the UTQ dossier
The basis of the compilation of the UTQ dossier are:
Basic Qualification English (BKE)
The BKE is a compulsory part of the UTQ for lecturers who teach English. The BKE test can be taken at the University's Academic Language Centre. The costs of the BKE test will be covered by the lecturer's Institute.
A BKE appointment can be made by emailing Brigitt Relli.
Exemptions and partial certificates
You may wish to apply for exemption from following (some of) the ICLON modules on the basis of previous teaching experience. For this purpose you can submit the exemption form to the secretary.
If you are employed by FSW as a PhD candidate and are interested in obtaining a UTQ partial certificate, we refer you to the UTQ partial certificate website.
Laura Schneider is the secretary of the UTQ Assessment Committee at FSW. You can contact her with questions about the procedure and support, or to schedule an intake.