Senior Teaching Qualification

Joint VU-UvA programme: one path to STQ

Nederlandse cursussenVU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam have joined forces to develop an equal and customized Senior Teaching Qualification (STQ) programme for both universities, with equal certificates. By their collaboration, VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam hold a leading position in the country regarding mutual coordination and recognition of the STQ. Two new groups will commence in the spring of 2017 for VU Amsterdam employees – a Dutch language and an English language group. The Dutch language group is an interfaculty group in a university. The English language group is an interuniversity group and therefore accessible to participants from both VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam. VU Amsterdam employees wanting to take part in the Dutch language or English language programme can apply according to the admission procedure below. Employees of the University of Amsterdam will receive information about the admission procedure from their supervisor.

The further developed STQ programme, which will be offered as of 2017, offers one path to the STQ. The two different tracks that existed previously –  STQ teaching leadership (STQ-L) and the STQ teaching specialist (STQ-S) – have now been integrated into one programme. The programme will be extended by one training day to accommodate the priorities of both STQ versions in the new programme.

Target group

Are you or will you be a senior lecturer? The qualification track for Senior Teaching Qualification (STQ) will help you to improve your coordinating and management skills in education. The STQ also offers you the opportunity to enhance your general and specific teaching skills. You will also have individual coaching sessions devoted to your personal development. You will be a potential candidate for the STQ if you are seen as the ‘prime mover’ of the programme by others in your faculty, department or section. You are quick to take responsibility and you stand out as a skilled and dedicated teacher. Qualities such as these will give your faculty cause to nominate you for participation in the VU Amsterdam STQ.

According to the classification of the Educational Framework of VU Amsterdam, the STQ is intended for staff from ACTA, VU Amsterdam and VUmc in the UFO job profiles of lecturer 1 and 2, associate professors, assistant professors and professors. These staff members may, or will, have one or more of the following roles, position and/or functions in university education:

  • coordinator of a major set of programme components
  • teaching coordinator at department or faculty level
  • member or chairperson of, for example, programme committee and curriculum committee
  • supervisor of junior colleagues
  • Director of Education
  • Director of Studies

The STQ may also be offered to teaching staff who are interested in improving their curriculum development skills.

Senior lecturers from other universities who meet the above description may also take part in the STQ programme offered by VU Amsterdam.

In addition to the STQ, the University Centre for Behaviour and Movement of VU Amsterdam also offers a course in Educational Leadership. This course is intended for people in a position of influence at faculty level. In practice, this means people responsible for a programme or a larger unit within the faculty, such as Directors of Studies, holders of educational portfolios, heads of department or teaching staff who can grow to such a position. The Educational Leadership course builds on the Senior Teaching Qualification (STQ). This qualification or a proven ability to function at STQ level is therefore one of the admission requirements for this track. Participation takes place on the recommendation of the dean of the faculty. More information about this track can be found on LOL.


The objective of the STQ programme is to empower senior lecturers or potential senior lecturers in the various roles they perform, giving academic staff the opportunity to focus on a teaching career. This may have a positive influence, indirectly or otherwise, on pass rates and the effectiveness of teaching management.

The STQ educational track builds on the knowledge and skills that teaching staff in possession of a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) have. This qualification for teaching staff involves developing and implementing academic education that promotes students’ learning to best possible effect. The STQ is aimed at senior lecturers who play a key role in education at VU Amsterdam. From their central position in the educational organization, senior lecturers do not so much plot the outlines of the policy but are responsible for the content and coordination of educational policy. They form the link between policy level and operational level and thus make a significant contribution to the quality of education at VU Amsterdam. The STQ may also be aimed at teaching staff who devote themselves  to sound preparation and implementation of improvements to the curriculum.

Senior Teaching Qualification

Nederlandse cursussenThe STQ programme is closely aligned with the daily practice of senior lecturers and offers support with contemporary issues. The lecturer’s work environment (supervisor and colleagues) and the context of the work are included in the programme. The objective of the STQ programme is to confirm senior lecturers or potential senior lecturers in the various roles they perform in the field of education. The programme incorprates the various roles senior lecturers play within the organization: visionary, connector, developer, organizer and supervisor. All senior lecturers fulfil these roles – they all have a vision on education; they coordinate parts of the curriculum or groups; they are supervisor to junior lecturers; and they develop new courses. The contents and specific interpretation of these five roles is clarified in the following figure.


The roles of a senior lecturer
In groups of no more than 14, participants are guided through the various roles they fulfil within the educational organization. A major component of the STQ track is developing and implementing an improvement or innovation track in the department or programme, also referred to as a ‘STQ project’. This includes the following themes: improvement of first-year students’ academic success, design of an interdisciplinary programme, design of a consistent test structure for the entire programme and improvement of quality assurance within the faculty. Such a track normally takes longer than one year. In the context of the STQ programme, intensive guidance is offered for part of the track. Another important aspect is the individual learning objective. This objective concerns personal skills a candidate needs to carry out the project.

The STQ programme covers a period of twelve months during which participants receive intensive guidance in developing the five STQ roles and their individual learning objective. The programme consists of the following:
  • an individual intake interview:
    to assess the extent to which the candidate meets the requirements, the extent to which the candidate’s expectations correspond with the objectives of the track and whether the candidate has enough time to complete the track. 
  • three individual coaching sessions:
    in which there is time and attention for the candidate’s individual learning objective and the progress of his/her project. 
  • six programme days:
    in which the different roles are further developed with the help of guest speakers, assignments and exercises. 
  • four peer group meetings:
    in which participants in groups of three or four students work on assignments in their own programme. 
  • interim assignments:
    aimed at vision development, project planning, curriculum analysis, network reinforcement, supervisorship, 360 degree feedback and file development. 
  • final assessment:
    in which the candidate is assessed on STQ final attainment levels on the basis of their STQ file and assessment interview. 
  • a festive conclusion
During the STQ programme, candidates work on two final products that form the basis of the assessment:

1) a reflection document in which the candidate clearly demonstrate his/her qualities and skills as a senior lecturer.
2) a report of an improvement track developed and implemented by the candidate in his/her programme.

Both final products are included in a file, in which the common theme is formed by questions about the candidate’s personal development during the STQ track and the added value the candidate’s project has created for the organization. The candidate clarifies his/her file in the assessment interview. The assessors pose in-depth questions to assess whether a candidate meets the requirements of the senior level.

Note: there is an obligation to attend. The candidate may not miss more than a half day of the six plenary STQ days to be able to achieve the STQ certificate. See contact and information for the timetables.

1. Recommendation
Portfolio holder for teaching or director of education of the faculty
2. Application form
3. Intake interview
Candidate and STQ trainer
4. Decision on admission
STQ Admissions Committee

1. Recommendation (portfolio holder for teaching or director of education of the faculty)
The portfolio holder for teaching or the director of education of the relevant faculty is responsible for recommending candidates for the STQ track. This recommendation is a prerequisite for participation in the track. The recommendation is emailed to the admissions committee: (in accordance with the relevant letter). The admissions committee informs the candidate about their nomination and refers them to the online application form.

2. Filling in the application form (candidate)

In addition to the recommendation, candidates are required to fill in the application form themselves. Candidates will then receive an email with a copy of the form as confirmation. Candidates who have already filled in the form in a previous round, need to fill in the form again to ensure our information is up to date. Candidates may naturally copy the information from the previous application form, of which they received a copy by email. Both candidates who have been recommended and candidates who have filled in the application form on their own accord are invited to take part in an intake interview. After the interview, the STQ admissions committee will take the final decision about the candidate’s admission.
Note: Participants of the STQ programme have an obligation to attend. To obtain the STQ certificate, the candidate may not miss more than one half day of the six plenary STQ days. It is therefore important to check the dates in the timetable carefully, before filling in the application form.

3. Intake interview
The intake interview is to assess to what extent there is a match between the project the candidate wishes to conduct during the STQ, the opportunities the candidate has to do so, the candidate’s corresponding individual learning objective and the contents of the STQ programme. An individual learning objective concerns the personal skills a candidate needs to carry out the project. During the project the candidate receives coaching in these skills.

The intake interview takes forty-five minutes. On invitation, the candidate registers himself or herself for a time on one of the proposed dates in the timetable. See the tab ‘contact and information’ near the button ‘meeting dates and times’, 2017 spring timetable.

4. Assessment STQ admissions committee
Suitability for the programme is determined on the basis of the information from the application form and the intake interview. An important criterion in this respect is that the candidate has a relevant STQ project and corresponding individual learning objective (aimed at the skills necessary to carry out the project). After the intake interviews, the STQ admissions committee of VU Amsterdam decides whether to finalize the candidate’s admission to the STQ. Following a positive decision by the STQ admissions committee, the candidate’s admission to the STQ track is finalized, provided that there are sufficient places. If there are more applications than available places, a limited enrolment lottery is held by faculty size. Candidates who were deemed suitable in a previous round but who failed to be awarded a place are entitled to a priority place.

The candidate is informed of the decision by email.

There are three possible outcomes following the intake interview:

- The candidate is deemed suitable for the STQ based on the application form and intake interview and there are sufficient places or (in the case of too many applications) the candidate is awarded a place by lottery.

- The candidate is deemed suitable for the STQ based on the application form and intake interview, but there were insufficient places in this round and the candidate was not awarded a place by lottery. We keep the candidate on the mailing list and approach the candidate in the following round (as soon as the timetable is available) to gauge interest in participation. The candidate is entitled to a priority place.  If the candidate wishes to participate, the application form must be filled in again.

- We feel that, based on the application form and the intake interview, the STQ track chosen by the candidate is not the right track at this point. We discuss our assessment with the candidate during the intake interview to jointly assess what other possibilities for development exist within VU Amsterdam. For example, one of the other programme options might be more suitable.
Duration of programme The programme includes an individual intake interview, 6 training sessions of one day and 3 individual coaching sessions of 1 hour each with the trainer and an assessment interview. Between each plenary session candidates get together with a peer group (a subgroup consisting of 3 to 4 participants) to work on assignments. There will be four peer group sessions of 2 to 2.5 hours each. Candidates jointly determine the dates for these peer group meetings.
The STQ track covers a period of 12 months.
Dates and time of meetings You can download the timetable for the 2017 Spring track here .
You can download the timetable for the 2017 Fall track here.
Study load Approximately 160 hours, including contact time
Instructors Karen van Oyen
Anneke Smorenburg
Hester Glasbeek
Allard Gerritsen
Rachna in ’t Veld
Christianne Vink
Mariska Knol
In addition, guest speakers specialized in a particular area will be invited.
Location VU University Centre for Behaviour and Movement
Metropolitan Building (ground floor)
Buitenveldertselaan 3, 1082 VA Amsterdam
Fees VU Amsterdam employees: €75 (administration fee)
External participants: €7,850
Registration The application of candidates for the VU Amsterdam STQ track takes place on the recommendation of the portfolio holder for teaching or the director of education of the relevant faculty. The approval of this portfolio holder or director is a prerequisite for participation in the STQ track. You can apply using the STQ application form and you will receive a confirmation email. Selection is partly based on the information provided in the application form. If there are more applications than available places, a limited enrolment lottery is held by faculty size. Following a positive decision by the STQ admissions committee, the candidate’s admission to the STQ track is finalized, provided that there are sufficient places.