The Junior Professor System in Germany: Problems and Prospects
In most countries a doctoral degree is the only essential qualification for consideration for a university teaching position. In Germany, however, until recently, such candidates must also have completed a habilitation degree. Completing the habilitation is a process that takes between six and eight years, by which time the average candidate is 42.3 years old, and even after completion it normally takes a few more years before being appointed. University faculty can generally be divided into teaching faculty and research fellows; the former constitute only about 13 percent of the faculty and have a high degree of autonomy, while the latter are mainly temporary contract employees with little autonomy. Thus, young academics typically have to spend many years developing their careers before they can expect to be considered for a promotion; this is especially true of women. In an effort to address this situation, around the turn of the century, Germany introduced a junior professor system. While this system has indeed succeeded in bringing about a certain degree of reform, a number of problems remain: 1. In Germany’s federal system, there are significant differences between states in terms of the rank of junior professors, as well as in their rights and duties, and in the resources available to them; 2. Although intermediate evaluations are conducted, since the resulting dismissal rate is a mere two percent, it seems that the system is not very effective in weeding out ill-qualified academics; 3. The junior professor system is intended to replace the habilitation system, but the latter doesn’t account for all candidates for teaching positions, especially in the humanities and social sciences; and 4. In comparison to secondary school teachers, the training of junior professors is much more demanding and time-consuming, yet their salary is roughly the same as that of secondary school teachers at the A14 rank, and their contract is limited to a maximum of six years. Worst of all, only eight percent of junior professors end up being appointed to a tenured professorship at the university where they served as junior professors. Thus, the most pressing issue facing the future viability of this system is not the number of junior professors it can accommodate, but rather the extent to which junior professors can expect that their participation in the system will lead to a viable career in academia.
|關鍵詞||人事制度、初級教授、德國大學、personnel system、junior professor、German university|