For quite a while, I’ve been meaning to put my application for full professor online. Here it is.


I had never seen an example of an application for promotion to full professor when I submitted my own application, in September 2009. The process was veiled in secrecy, it seemed. The criteria were clear, sort of: in Norway you have to have a PhD (of course) and then the equivalent again to merit a full professorship, and any associate professor with a permanent job at a Norwegian university can apply, you don’t have to wait for a chair to be available as in some countries.

So I had no idea what a professor application should look like. There were no mentorship programs, no annual talks on what was expected and how to prepare an application, no other professors happily sharing their applications. There were brief guidelines, similar to these 2012 ones, but nothing that seemed very specific. Instead I found blog posts from US academics on how they were preparing their tenure binders, and so I decided to copy that model, and actually use a binder. I filled it with sections on research, teaching and outreach, each with a selection of material. I spent an hour in the university bookshop deciding which colour binder to use, and opted for a dark, rich pinkish-purple: feminine yet very serious. I photocopied five copies of ten publications, put it all in a big cardboard box along with five copies of the book I wrote and the book I co-edited and lugged it all over to the Faculty of Humanities administration.


Uncharacteristically, I didn’t blog it. I was too nervous my application would be rejected. And nobody ever talks about their professor applications. It seemed as though it was taboo, and so I didn’t.

But four years later I’m annoyed to see how closed the process still is. So I’m putting my whole application online so anyone else who wonders what a Norwegian application for full professor looks like can see. I still haven’t seen more than a couple of other applications, so I’ve no idea whether this is a typical or even a particularly good application, but I did receive my full professorship from an international jury of my peers (or rather, of people who had already been full professors for several years), so it must have been good enough! And I’ll include the evaluation report too so you can judge for yourself. I’m not including all the publications or all the articles and course descriptions and so on that were in the teaching and outreach sections, but the table of contents should give you a pretty good idea of what I put in there. Here are links to PDFs of the documents I wrote specifically for the application:

And here is the evaluation report so you can see how the committee received it and what they emphasized. It’s in Norwegian, but most people applying for a professorship in Norway can probably stumble their way through it, and I expect Google translate will get you some of the content. Now, my field is digital culture, which doesn’t exist as such at other Norwegian universities. They sent my application to the media department at the University of Oslo. So this may all vary in other fields, I really don’t know!

Best of luck if you’re applying!

5 thoughts on “My professor application

  1. Anne Gjelsvik

    Hi Jill,
    I am impressed by your openness. So while I am not ready to share mine on the internet I do so with colleagues myself. Faculty of Humanities, NTNU used to give a crash course on how to apply that I attended, the aim was to get more women to apply. And female professors shared their applications, even one who had hers turned down (!). The course was great iniative in my opinion. Overall, more openess in academia is all for the better.

  2. Jill

    I’ve also shared my application with colleagues, but we haven’t had crash courses on how to apply here, at least not in my faculty. And yes, more openness, please! We don’t have to share everything, but we should at least consider whether sharing might be just fine!

  3. M C Morgan

    The materials submitted look remarkably similar to mine, back in 2006, except I delivered everything I had in a big Rubbermaid hanging file box – as recommended by a colleague who received her full professorship the year before. Kind of a metallic blue box, I recall.

    It’s not do much secrecy as insider knowledge. That’s how we move mentoring for submission along locally: Talk to the recent recipients in your department or college, and ask your Dean what he or she is looking for. Deans come and go, and the way materials are submitted change as a the deans change. States differ, but in our system, the path and criteria for evaluation are written into union contract: submit to Dean, who recommends to Provost, who recommends to President. The evidence is publications, evidence of engaged teaching, evidence of continuing research. The unwritten ones: don’t be a jerk, help others, be honest, open, and gracious.

    It’s not perfect, so we have an appeal system.

    And a belated congratulations on your professorship.


  4. Clare Hooper

    Good for you, Jill!

    I also really enjoyed your previous post… thanks for keeping on blogging 🙂

  5. Jens Eike Schnall

    Hi Jill,

    thanks a lot! I admire your openness to put your materials online and, as you did today, to send a circular email to all your colleagues at Bergen university – very helpful indeed!


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