Evaluation criteria

Tenure track evaluation criteria are based on the principles of predictability, transparency, and comparability with international standards.

The performance is evaluated through three dimensions: 1) Research and/or Artistic and Professional Work, 2) Teaching and 3) Service (activity in scientific community, academic leadership and societal interaction). The review is conducted through a holistic evaluation and the same criteria apply for both recruitments and advancements on the tenure track.

Assistant Professors

When recruiting for Assistant Professor first term, the evaluation is mainly based on the potential of the candidate in the evaluated dimensions. When recruiting or reviewing for Assistant Professor second term, the evaluation is based on both merits and potential.

In a systematic evaluation of the potential for a successful career on the tenure track, the following aspects could be considered:

  • Early exceptional research or artistic merits
  • Early exceptional teaching merits
  • Rate of progress in earning merits
  • Comparison and benchmarking of the candidates (including bibliometric indicators)
  • Independence and originality
  • Networking
  • Recommendation letters

Associate and Full Professors

The recruitment or advancement review includes at least the evaluation of the key criteria described below. Candidates recruited or promoted to the level of Full Professor must have high academic merits, be judged by distinguished members of their discipline, to be of first rank among scholars, and must show a continued contribution to scholarship and Aalto University.

The minimum requirements for reaching tenure (associate or full professor) are excellence in research and/or artistic work and high quality in teaching, or excellence in teaching and high quality in research and/or artistic work. In the advancement reviews (assistant second term, tenure and promotion reviews) the focus is mainly on the merits achieved since the last review or recruitment at Aalto University.

The following criteria are considered key criteria when reviewing a candidate for tenure and determining excellence in either research/artistic work and/or teaching.

Research and/or Artistic and Professional Work

  • The most important publications and their quality and impact including the qualityof the publication forums from the viewpoint of the candidate’s field of research;and/or the most important artistic works and their quality and impact.
  • Research/artistic work in other universities and research institutes or in professionallyrelevant positions (including doctoral studies and the post-doctoralphase).
  • The ability to build and lead a research/artistic team including possible doctoral students and post-doctoral research associates or artistic professionals supervised by the candidate.
  • The capability of raising competitive research funding or corresponding competitive funding in the artistic field.
  • The ability to conduct independent research/artistic work.


  • Teaching experience including supervision of doctoral, master and bachelor level theses.
  • Development of teaching and experience in course development in the field.
  • Pedagogical education and studies.
  • The quality of student feedback.
  • Collegial feedback (e.g., head of department, director of degree programme) and utilization of student and collegial feedback in developing teaching.
  • The ability to teach.


When recruiting or evaluating a candidate to the Full Professor level, the review should consider the key criteria, with increased emphasis on service (activity in scientific community, academic leadership and societal interaction):

  • International (and national) visibility and standing of the candidate and her/his team in the field.
  • Competitive funding.
  • Achievements in doctoral education.
  • Experience in curriculum development.

In addition, the candidate is expected to have contributions to service including, for example,

  • The candidate’s outreach and dissemination of her/his work.
  • Collaboration within Aalto University, schools and the departments such as committee, working group and task force memberships.
  • Mentoring and coaching more junior colleagues.
  • Formal training developing academic leadership.
  • Academic leadership positions including committees and educational programs.
  • Service to the scientific/artistic community or society at large.

Factors considered in the recruitment and promotion reviews in the Aalto Tenure track


  • Research plan
    • Current state (including at assistant level a demonstrated ability to conduct independent research)
    • Vision and goals
    • Research output and scientific impact of research
  • Publications in international peer reviewed forums (within last 8-10 years)
    • Citations
    • Other research publications (books, book chapters)
    • Work in progress
  • Plenary talks and other high impact talks such as invited talks, keynote lectures, etc.
  • Technical results and innovations, research artefacts and/or tools produced (software etc.)
  • Scientific collaboration
  • Competitive research funding/grants
  • Collaboration with concrete outcomes: joint articles, joint funding, etc.
  • References
    • Awards, prizes, etc.

Artistic and professional work

  • Plan for artistic and professional work
    • Current state
    • Vision
  • Artistic, design, and architectural output and professional impact
    • Implemented and/or published projects, productions, concepts, exhibitions and other artistic and professional activities
    • Real life developing projects and productions
    • Professional publications
    • Documented presentations in professional bodies, conferences, and professional journals
    • Membership in competition jury
  • References
    • Awards, prizes, etc.


As part of the recruitment and/or promotion process, the candidate is asked to present her/his teaching competence by a teaching portfolio, to give a teaching demonstration, and the candidate is also interviewed concerning the teaching competence. The assessment is comprehensive in terms of taking into account the experience and merits presented in the teaching portfolio, the performance during the teaching demonstration, and the outcome of the interview. For a more detailed description of how teaching competence and merits are evaluated, please see the Comprehensive assesment of teaching competence (pdf).

The teaching portfolio is a tool to document and assess teaching qualifications and pedagogical work in a systematic way. Please see the guidelines for compililing the teaching porfolio: Outline for compiling your teaching portfolio (pdf).

When reviewing a candidate’s teaching merits and competence, the following elements are considered:

  • Teaching experience including supervision of doctoral, master and bachelor level theses. Production of teaching and learning materials.
  • Development of teaching including teaching philosophy and approach of teaching, experience in course and curriculum development, including educational leadership
  • Pedagogical education and studies
  • Student and collegial feedback, honours and awards
  • The ability to teach


  •   Service to research/artistic community
    • Conferences (organizing)
    • Editorial tasks
    • Major evaluation tasks
    • Memberships and positions of trust in scientific and artistic community and academic institutions (e.g. Chair, Fellow)
  • Academic leadership and internal service
    • Mentoring and tutoring
    • Academic leadership including leadership training
    • Research management and research team management
  • Societal interaction
    • Societal visibility
      • Contribution in the field of expertise (e.g. through expert tasks,  popularized works, media visibility, interaction with alumni, participation in business and societal posts and networks external to Aalto)
    • Aalto collaborative platforms
      • Active participation or leadership (e.g. in Aalto factories and other units, Aalto incubation services and Aalto generated start-up companies, Aalto executive education/other continuing education, as well as raising private funding for Aalto projects)
    • Interaction with stakeholders
      • Patents and other commercial rights, significant new methods for industry or other business etc.
    • Advisory roles in governmental and other bodies
    • Other collaboration with the community

Page content by: | Last updated: 14.06.2017.