The Finnish Union of Docents
The purpose of the Finnish Union of Docents is to preserve the more than 200-year-old and well-established docent system in Finland, promote the position of docents in university teaching and research, and strengthen connections with universities/research institutes and society. The Union organises seminars and meetings, publishes reports and other documents and cooperates with national and international authorities, universities and colleges.
The Union of Docents was founded in 1969. The term is derived from the Latin word docens, which is the active participle of docere (to teach, to lecture). The Union is an umbrella organisation for local associations, of which there are currently three in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere. A person whose docentship has been confirmed at any Finnish university can apply to become a member of one of the member organisations of the Union of Docents.
A docent's degree can be granted in Finland upon application. The title is called dosentti in Finnish and docent in Swedish. It is a purely academic title awarded to an outstanding researcher who meets the requirements. The person must have extensive knowledge of his or her own field, readiness for independent research or artistic work, which has been demonstrated through publications or other means, and good teaching skills.
Docents are an essential and important part of the teaching staff of Finnish universities. Docents are comparable to professors in terms of their scientific qualifications, but they lack appointment to the permanent position of professor. The docent's job is part-time, and their main job can be outside the university. Docents have served as a scientific talent reserve for universities, from which meritorious docents have been appointed professors.
The Union of Docents has decided to recommend the use of the title Associate Professor in the English translation of docent. The translation best corresponds to the docent's scientific merit in the changed academic situation and in international context. The background is the increasing number of Professors of Practice, the creation of career paths in tenure track programs, and the demands of international cooperation. Previously, the recommendation was to use the title Adjunct Professor which however underestimates the docent's qualifications. For example, in Sweden, the title Associate Professor is already in use as a translation of the rank of docent.
University of Helsinki Docents’ Association In English - Helsingin yliopiston dosenttiyhdistys (hydy.fi)
University of Turku Docents’ Association Turun Yliopistojen Dosenttiyhdistys ry – Docentföreningen vid Universiteten i Åbo rf | Turun yliopistojen dosenttiyhdistyksen sivusto (utu.fi)
Tampere Society for Associate Professors https://eng.dosenttiyhdistys.fi/home