An attractive and predictable career path for top talent
Offering tenure track positions for professors across all disciplines, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) opens up attractive and predictable career paths for outstanding early career researchers. Initially appointed on a fixed-term basis, holders of tenure track positions will advance to an open-ended professorship at JMU without having to go through a separate competitive recruitment process if their performance meets the required standards. The University offers two tenure track options: appointment to the position of junior professor in pay grade W1 with tenure track towards the position of university professor with lifetime appointment (pay grade W2 or W3) and fixed-term appointment to the position of university professor in pay grade W2 with tenure track towards the position of university professor with lifetime appointment (pay grade W3).
JMU has dcided to systematically raise the number of tenure track positions in all of its faculties. Starting in 2020, approx. 30% of all professorships will be advertised as tenure track positions. The JMU Tenure Track Regulations set out the goals as well as the standards and processes the University applies when appointing individuals to tenure track positions. Appointments to tenure track positions are made in accordance with JMU’s Guidelines for Appointments.
Tenure track positions should be filled with early career researchers who have changed universities after completion of their doctorate or, if they completed their doctorate at JMU, held a position as a researcher at a higher education institution other than JMU for at least two years. Assessment procedures for hiring tenure track staff are different from ‘traditional’ searches in that the positions to be filled, in particular those in pay grade W1, are designed for researchers who are in earlier stages of their careers. In recruitment processes, JMU will therefore not only look at a candidate’s past achievements but will also take more account of his or her potential for future achievement.
Professors appointed on tenure track perform their duties in research and teaching independently and take on tasks in academic self-governance. JMU is committed to helping its researchers unlock their full academic potential. The University will therefore ensure that, from day one of their term of appointment, all holders of tenure track positions will be equipped with adequate materials and personnel and will have access to University resources and infrastructure.
By the time of their appointment to tenure track positions, researchers are in relatively early stages of their careers. This is why JMU attaches great importance to fostering their professional development and assuring the quality of its tenure track proceedings. The University has developed a range of tools and procedures to help ensure that tenure track professors receive both discipline-specific guidance and assistance in the development of generic skills:
- Tenure track professors will be required to outline their progression to an open-ended professorship in a career development plan that details the objectives they intend to achieve and the qualifications they intend to obtain while on tenure track. Achievement of those objectives and qualifications will be a decisive criterion for the granting of tenure.
Bavarian law prescribes an intermediate evaluation for junior professors, which must be conducted before the end of year three of their term of appointment. If that intermediate evaluation is positive, the junior professor’s term of appointment into civil service will be extended to a total of up to six years. JMU will base a junior professor’s intermediate evaluation on the six-year plan outlined in his or her career development plan.
- The University understands that professors within their tenure probationary period need to receive ongoing feedback and must be given an idea of whether their performance to date meets the required standards. For this reason, tenure track professors will meet with the Dean of their faculty at least once a year to discuss the progress they have made towards achieving the objectives identified in their career development plan, the so-called status meeting.
- All holders of tenure track positions have access to opportunities for the development of generic skills (these qualification measures mainly focus on career development and the development of leadership skills) as well as to a wide range of training courses and counselling services offered by the JMU Research Academy.
The JMU Tenure Track Regulations outline the University’s standards for tenure track proceedings and help ensure that all procedures relating to the appointment and employment of tenure track staff are fair and transparent and comply with the highest standards of quality. Achievement of the objectives and qualifications identified in a tenure track professor’s career development plan is a decisive criterion for the granting of tenure. The University’s Standing Tenure Committee is responsible for ensuring that all tenure track proceedings at JMU are based upon clearly defined, comparable, and transparent standards and assessment criteria. A Tenure Evaluation Committee composed of the members of the Standing Tenure Committee and additional experts specialising in the field concerned is appointed for each tenure procedure. Click herefor a graphic representation of the JMU tenure evaluation process (currently available in German only).