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Outline: The process of recruitment of university professors is quite complex and at times the university hiring process leaves you wondering. Not only the candidates have to meet the numerous and specific requirements but their scientific, technical and teaching skills are also evaluated. However, it’s suppose that, therefore, the professors with the best skills and sensitivity for teaching would be chosen. However, as any college student may have noticed, there are bad professors. Why? How do university teachers get hired?

Public Tenders

In Portugal, recruitment of most academic teachers is done through public tenders, open to anyone. The competitions are always published in the Diário da República, on websites like the Sindicato Nacional do Ensino Superior and the Bolsa de Emprego Público and, in some cases, on the webpage of the recruiting university. The duration of the application period is thirty working days from the day after publication in the Diário da República and the application will have to be delivered in person or via mail.


The main requirements that candidates must meet are the qualifications and the required areas of studies as well as proof of ownership of the academic degree. Any teacher who applies without owning these key requirements will be immediately excluded from the recruitment process. Further requirements depend heavily on recruiting format of each university, but the most common tend to be the CV of the candidates which places relevant professional experience and scientific work carried out, the ID cards and the application to the director of the institution they are applying. The ones who don’t submit all requested documents will also be automatically excluded from the procedure.


After the selection of candidates that meet the requirements, the normal procedure is the preparation of interviews and tests of educational aptitude and scientific capacity driven by a jury composed by members of the university, normally teachers. Usually the assessment focuses on the scientific and pedagogical skills of the candidates, which can both get the same relevance in the evaluation criteria or one get more than the other, depending on the university’s intends. In some cases, the members of the jury deliberate by a vote in accordance with the adopted evaluation criteria and if the vote is equal, the process is given as completed. Otherwise, the jury vote so that a candidate get half the votes, which is placed in the first place. In case of a tie, the president of the jury may decide which candidate will be accepted or it will be done a public hearing to candidates tied.

The fulfillment of this whole procedure assumes that the choice of the ideal candidate will be on who has better teaching skills. However, this does not always happen. If the scientific expertise or scientific performance as the publication of articles in journals or scientific works, among others, is more relevant or weights more in the assessment than the pedagogical competence, the teacher’s quality in terms of teaching sensitivity is questionable.

Bad Teachers


Although the two skills often have the same value in assessments of prospective teachers, there are exceptions. One example is the teaching staff that is recruited by invitation, ie, recruitment without public tender. This is the case of guests professors who are recruited by invitation only because of their merit and prestige and whose scientific capabilities are proven by a scientific work, by scientific CV or by the competent performance of a professional activity. In these cases, there is no proof of their sensitivity and ability to teach college students. However, these cases are the exceptions as said above.

But beyond that, even with the strict criteria, the teaching skills of a teacher are not fully tested to the point of realizing that they actually have the skills necessary to be considered a good teacher. Any student of university certainly had a bad teacher. It is also likely that the majority of teachers with several years of career have been hired before the current judicious recruitment of teachers.

The Truth

The truth is that there will always be bad professors. Just as good professors. And good and bad students. There are different points of view. An academic teacher can be classified as a bad teacher for one student, but he may be classified as a good teacher to another student. It is a subjective and controversial subject. In addition, one must keep in mind that there are external factors that can cause deterioration in the professor’s quality as the year career that causes the lack of patience, the uninterested, late and noisy students who skip classes to whom the professors must necessarily teach (can be the result for having a bad professor), the weight of the workload, without even mentioning the type of personal problems or even professionals.

Do you think that courses who are taught by bad teachers make the university experience useless? Check out an opinion article from of our top student contributors from Católica, Margarida Morais, on whether university education can be considered useless or not by clicking here!

Author: Isa Rafael

BSc in Political Sciences (Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, ISCSP, Lisbon University) and currently attending postgraduate studies in Digital Strategic Communication at the same university.

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