Teaching work is the essence of the task of a university teacher, which translates into educating thousands of graduates. It is therefore essential for the development of knowledge society that teaching be carried out in the best conditions and without being relegated or subordinated to the development of other functions of the university teaching staff. In line with this fundamental objective, significant advances have been made over the last four years, which must be maintained and which are being developed around the following core areas:
- Rejuvenation. The university is committed to rejuvenating staff from access to the figure of Assistant Lecturer and similar profiles of the royal decree in preparation, with the same guarantees of promotion and stabilisation.
- Strengthening calls for promotion and stabilisation. Clear and stable criteria have been established for promoting and stabilising teachers to harness the full replacement rate. This regular calls process has made it possible to reduce the number of accredited teachers and to provide progression in academic career in conditions of safety, rigour and equity. The validity of these criteria will be maintained with the improvements that circumstances advise, always with a majority agreement of the university community.
- Expand improvement in teacher recognition. Over these four years, new recognitions have been created for research work (publications obtained and project funding, among others), participation in different Spanish and international committees and recognition has been increased for managing end-of-study projects. The objective is to progress along this line, adding new criteria for recognising other academic activities that take teaching staff dedication into account, such as participating in end-of-study boards, evaluating sessions and other teaching activities, innovation activities in teaching, research, management and representation in Spain and abroad. Comprehensive recognition will be achieved for the dedication of the teaching staff, valuing the totality of the individual contribution towards achieving the institution’s aims.
- Bilingual itineraries. The number of bilingual itineraries has been expanded. The university has encouraged that the 120 ECTS required can be completed in full at the University of Oviedo. All this has led to creating new groups, which combined with their smaller size (expressly reflected in the procedure for preparing the POD), has required effort that must be maintained in the future.
- End-of-study dissertations. Regarding the management of end-of-study projects (TFE), regulations have been approved for end-of-degree projects (TFG) and end-of-master projects (TFM) and a new computer application has been implemented with the aim of facilitating digital management. Progress has been made in recognising tutors’ work. In the next term, this recognition will be extended to members of the evaluation panel.
- Reduced maximum teaching dedication. In this mandate, the important electoral commitment to limit the maximum TRS teaching time to 240 hours has been fulfilled. Once the limitation to 24 ECTS has been achieved as the maximum TRS dedication, the challenge is to incorporate new recognitions for other academic activities in a generalised manner.
- Transfer six-year term. Over the last year, the six-year transfer period for the purposes of the teaching exemption has been recognised, in a manner equivalent to the six-year period for research, which is something unusual in Spanish universities. This criterion will be maintained for any other type of six-year term that could be established in the future, such as the six-year teaching term.
- Teaching collaboration. The full development of the teacher collaboration programme, pioneering in Spain, has enabled research staff as well as administration and services staff to join the teaching support work. This teaching experience is fully recognised by ANECA. In the next term, improvements will be introduced in its management and application and collaborators will be offered preferential access to the pedagogical training courses of the Institute for Educational Research and Innovation (INIE).
Academic career and generational relay
Hiring new talent, rejuvenating the workforce and reducing job insecurity have been a priority in this four-year mandate. More than 150 new positions for Assistant Lecturer have been added to the University of Oviedo from 2016 to 2020. Agreements have been reached with social organisations to guarantee the full development of the academic career at the University of Oviedo and the largest plan to promote and stabilise the TRS in the entire history of the academic institution has been implemented, with 500 places in 2020.
In this new period, this fundamental action line in human resources for the TRS will be maintained. New Assistant Lecturers (or similar figures) will be hired and the number of pre-doctoral contracts with teaching collaboration programmes increased (used by more than 1,500 people) to guarantee generational renewal in the institution. With the criteria approved in 2016 for promotion and stabilisation, access will be provided to accredited associate teaching staff and I3 accredited teachers. The call for the legally established disability rates will be treated with the utmost respect.
Within the framework of agreements with social representation, clear and stable criteria have been established for undertaking an academic career at the University of Oviedo. Implementing a comprehensive plan for the call for vacancies for permanent teaching staff, Contracted Lecturers, Senior Lecturers and Professors, as well as other profiles, labour or civil servants, that may legally be introduced will be insisted upon. Special attention will be devoted to areas with older teachers and no prospects for generational change through calls for Assistant Lecturer positions and pre-doctoral contracts. The calls for permanent teaching positions will be maintained in areas where there are Assistant Lecturers that hold an accreditation to become Contracted Lecturers or Senior Lecturers, with no seniority restrictions in the position; in other words, from the first year of contract.
Stabilisation of the TRS that is incorporated through programmes of excellence such as Ramón y Cajal, Beatriz Galindo, Sara Borell or Miguel Servet and other national and regional programmes, as well as European ones, such as the European Research Council (ERC) will be promoted.
A special protection plan will be developed for people who are completing their academic career after a long period of service to the university. Teachers over 60 years of age may progressively reduce their teaching activity, one credit per year until retirement, while facilitating gradual transition through task and responsibility transfer to new generations of teachers.
Training for TRS has been a concern for the governance team during this mandate. An extensive and varied training offer has therefore been implemented through the Institute for Educational Research and Innovation (INIE). The arrival of the pandemic, and with it, online teaching, has highlighted the importance of this training and updating. Over the next four years, this path of promoting continuous training, increasing the offer in terms of subject matter and in number of places, will continue.
Regarding language training, significant effort has been made to extend courses in English. An extensive and permanent offer will continue in the new mandate.
A call for co-funding external training will also be launched, for example, international certifications or training activities given by prestigious organisations in the professional field.
Other relevant aspects to update are placements abroad and placements in companies. Excellent mobility programmes are a fundamental tool for acquiring new skills. The university will insist on strengthening the existing calls by increasing its resources and directing them to the different stages of the academic career. It is proposed to increase in the number of teaching mobilities up to 10%, with the incentive of recognition in the teaching plan of eight hours for each month of mobility, subject to a maximum of 24 hours per course and teacher.
Associate, substitute and collaborating teaching staff
Over these four years, a notable effort has been made to transform and replace the contracts of the so-called ‘unsuitable associates,’ reducing the calls for six-hour places until their disappearance and increasing the number of Assistant Lecturer posts. The use of the substitute teaching staff profile has also increased to cover the teaching needs generated by sick leave or performance of academic positions in accordance with the Workers’ Collective Agreement (2013). Through this practice, it is guaranteed that such substitutions are carried out with decent contracts, avoiding precarious hiring of associate teaching staff and promoting staff rejuvenation. This action line will be maintained in the next term, which will be complemented with creating job banks that will enable the areas to draw on qualified substitutes urgently. The ultimate aim is to eradicate precariousness in hiring TRS staff at the University of Oviedo.
Faculty of Health Sciences
Creating the coordination area with Health Sciences has made it possible to bring the university governance closer to the associated teaching staff. This electoral commitment makes it possible to improve interaction with a group that has special characteristics due to its dual hospital and university links. Among other positive results, all the promotion positions for Health Sciences teachers have been called that have been accredited with the “replacement fee grant” by SESPA and Health Sciences associate teacher positions have been renewed and expanded to a total of 182 in this period.
As objectives for the next rectoral period, it is proposed to regulate the profile of a Contracted Lecturer bound to Health Sciences in order to promote the academic career and the renewal of the teaching staff with a link to Health Sciences practice. At this time, there are more than a dozen associate teachers and young researchers, with accreditation in the profile of Contracted Lecturers. The link in the Contracted Lecturer profile would enable them to undertake a transitory period that would facilitate their accreditation to Senior Lecturers. This solution has already been adopted in several regional communities including Aragon, Castile and León, Murcia, Galicia, Cantabria and Andalusia. The second objective is to reinforce the university’s close collaboration with the Ministry of Health to facilitate the teaching and research work of those teachers, associates included, with a link to Health Sciences.
A third objective is to financially provide an administrative unit within the HUCA teaching area to facilitate management of undergraduate and postgraduate students and Health Sciences teachers. This unit could also be a support for the decentralisation of the PhD and master’s degrees that are now managed entirely by the International Postgraduate Centre.
The calls for permanent teaching positions will be maintained in areas where there are Assistant Lecturers that hold an accreditation to become Contracted Lecturers or Senior Lecturers, with no seniority restrictions in the position; in other words, from the first year of contract.
Teachers over 60 years of age may progressively reduce their teaching activity, one credit per year until retirement