“Important to encourage university teachers”

At the Commencement Ceremony in the spring of 2020, Sweden’s largest award for teachers will be presented for the first time. The award, which is to go to a teacher at Linköping University, was founded by Professor Emeritus Ingemar Ingemarsson. 

Photo credit Anna Nilsen“I think most of us have come in contact with a few brilliant teachers, a large number of average ones, and a few real shockers. I want to reward the really brilliant ones. The most important role a university has is to educate people, and the teachers who motivate students to learn are worth all the encouragement we can give them.”

Over the years, he has put a huge amount of effort into developing the engineering degrees in particular; he has worked to attract more women to technical professions; and he has been a pioneer in problem-based learning, or PBL, at Linköping University.

The award is to recognise “a person who is making or has made a considerable contribution to education and its development at LiU, with lasting effects on student learning”.
The award includes a sum of more than half a million Swedish crowns.

“I want it to be enough so the winner can take a year’s sabbatical, perhaps with a stint at a university abroad, or do something else with the money, just like researchers can do.”

Photo credit Anna NilsenLiU Vice-Chancellor Helen Dannetun (photo to the right) welcomes the teaching award, echoing that education is the most important duty of a university:
“Now the Commencement Ceremony will include the teachers, not just the researchers. It’s brilliant to be able to give our teachers some well-earned attention.”

At the seminar in Studenthuset, there was a discussion on what is required from the university teachers of the future. If they are to have a chance of becoming really good, they require frequent further education. At Didacticum, which was founded at LiU five years ago, they get that.

Photo credit Anna Nilsen“In traditional teaching, all the focus is on the teacher, who is supposed to know all the answers. But today, teachers have multiple roles, for instance they also help the students to take their own initiatives. Nor are teachers the only support for the students’ learning; there are also libraries, the Språkverkstan language assistance centre, and the study guidance counsellors”, says Gun Sparrhoff, educational developer at Didacticum.

She adds:
“Moreover, the university’s role includes more than just conveying existing knowledge. Teachers must deal with a range of social challenges, and must teach a wide range of perspectives including climate change, globalisation and migration, new consumption patterns and new technology. The focus should be on different knowledge forms, not just on book knowledge. And the students should learn to evaluate and relate to what they learn.”

Nominations for “Ingemars lärarpris” are accepted until 20 October 2019.


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