Academic staff are required to improve continuously their professional skills. Achievements of academic teachers are assessed as part of a periodic performance appraisal and procedures leading to the award of doctoral and post-doctoral degrees and a professorial title. Conditions for the award of doctoral and postdoctoral degrees and a professorial title are precisely defined in the Law on Higher Education and Science (ustawa Prawo o szkolnictwie wyższym i nauce). They include requirements regarding research achievements and research or artistic activity and, for the title of professor, the participation in research teams, research internships or scientific research or development activity conducted in HEIs or other research institutions, or outstanding artistic achievements.
All academic teachers may take, although under different conditions, research or study leave (see the section “Holidays”). Study or research leave is granted to enhance teaching or research skills of staff and facilitate their research development, including in pursuit of a doctoral or postdoctoral degree.
Academic teachers may be sent abroad to:
- conduct joint research with a foreign institution if they are involved in research in Poland;
- participate in conferences;
- carry out teaching assignments;
- follow a postgraduate programme, or doctoral programme / studies if they have adequate research achievements and at least one-year work experience in a given specialisation area; undertake research, artistic or specialist placements; take a foreign language or another course upgrading their professional skills; or undertake a practical placement.
In such cases, related costs can be covered by:
- the teacher concerned;
- an institution other than the one sending a teacher abroad;
- the sending institution which awards a grant for subsistence and accommodation costs.
The sending institution may also grant other benefits; in particular, it may reimburse costs of travel, insurance, research materials / resources, and visa charges.
Incentives for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities
Academic teachers can participate in various activities improving their teaching or research methods and skills, for example, new teaching (including remote education) methods, interpersonal skills, language competences, academic or research writing skills or grant writing skills. The range of staff development opportunities available depends on the capacity of an HEI and its responsiveness to the needs of staff; arrangements for participation and cost reimbursement are laid down in internal regulations of an HEI. The responsibility for professional development, including planning and participation in such courses and other training events, workshops and conferences, rests with academic teachers themselves. Some HEIs disseminate information about professional development opportunities to their staff, raise funding for such activities or provide development opportunities, for example, in collaboration with other entities. Other HEIs, however, delegate all tasks related to professional development to academic teachers who, therefore, take the sole responsibility for enhancing their own skills. Informal professional development methods include, for example:
- membership of academic and scientific societies and other organisations;
- teaching observation;
- seminars run by organisational units of the HEI;
- knowledge sharing among academic teachers.