4 December 2009

Language centre to assess researchers' English skills

As the first faculty at the University of Copenhagen, the management at the Faculty of Life Sciences recently decided that all researchers who teach in English-medium programmes must have their English proficiency assessed by the University's Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use (CIP) within the next two years.

Certification for lecturers 

Between 2010 and 2012, 250 lecturers from the Faculty of Life Sciences therefore have to pass an English language certification before being allowed to teach on the Faculty's English-medium programmes offered in the disciplines Food Science and Technology, Veterinary Science and Natural Resource Management. The certification is to ensure that English-medium instruction is carried out at the same high level as the Danish-medium courses.

Associate Dean of Education Grete Bertelsen is confident that the contract with CIP will give the Faculty of Life Sciences a strong advantage in the fiercely competitive international market for top students and researchers.

Tailor-made test and language skills development

The test that the researchers at the Faculty of Life Sciences must take in order to receive their linguistic rubber stamp was developed at CIP itself simply because no standard test is currently available that caters for university lecturers' highly specialised teaching.
Christened TOEPAS (Test of Oral English Proficiency for Academic Staff), it is therefore not only a tailor-made test for university lecturers, but also uniquely functions as a competence development tool, as the participants receive thorough written and oral feedback on their English language proficiency. Furthermore, they are given access to a video recording of their own presentation in the test. In this way, lecturers will have the opportunity of continuing to work on different key aspects of their English language proficiency.

- "The Centre for Internationalisation and Parallel Language Use is a research, training and resource centre and was established with the goal of better equipping researchers and students at the University of Copenhagen to meet the particular challenges that come from being an international university with two official languages, namely Danish and English, so the collaboration with the Faculty of Life Sciences is very exciting and definitely a step in the right direction for us and the University", says CIP's chairman, Jens Erik Mogensen.