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Tenure Track at LMU

More than 10 years ago, LMU was one of the first universities in Germany to introduce tenure track professorships. Since then, the University has steadily developed its tenure track program in order to provide aspiring junior researchers with an attractive career path to a permanent professorship at LMU at an early stage in their careers. Today, more than 200 researchers hold a tenure track professorship at the University or have received tenure at LMU.

Framework

Junior researchers are eligible to apply for a tenure-track professorship at LMU (cf. "How to Apply"). Tenure-track professorships at the University are W2-positions, which are initially limited to a period of six years. All of these professorships are reserved to be made permanent. Successful tenure-track candidates are appointed to a professorship at LMU with all relevant rights and obligations. When compared to tenure track schemes at US-American universities such as UC Berkeley, a tenure-track position at LMU can be regarded as equivalent to an Assistant professorship.

Successful completion of the tenure process (cf. "Tenure Process") leads to a permanent W2 professorship. These positions are comparable to an Associate professorship (with tenure) at US-American universities.

How to Apply

LMU offers two possible options of applying for a tenure-track professorship at the University:

  • First, there are regular job openings for professorships throughout LMU’s 18 faculties for which junior researchers may apply.
  • Second, since 2014 LMU has been offering W2 tenure-track professorships to junior researchers having secured a highly prestigious international prize. While currently available exclusively to successful ERC Starting Grantees, LMU is planning to expand this recently introduced scheme to other prizes aimed at top-ranking early-career researchers. The program is regularly publicized and advertised throughout the University.

Appointment

Successful applicants for a tenure-track professorship may conduct appointment negotiations with LMU. These negotiations determine

  • the salary and
  • the endowment of the professorship.

In the course of their appointment, candidates are also acquainted with the tenure-track procedure.

Regarding the eventual decision to award tenure, LMU implemented a catalogue of performance criteria in 2008, which is regularly reviewed. In general, these criteria comprise an evaluation of the candidate’s

  • research performance
  • teaching performance and
  • further performance indicators.

Candidates are specifically informed about these criteria as well as all further steps of the tenure process. In addition, specific questions concerning the individual tenure-track case will be addressed in the course of the candidate’s appointment.

Following the completion of the appointment negotiations, candidates are appointed to fixed-term six-year professorships. This marks the start of their tenure-track phase.

Tenure-Track Phase

During their tenure-track phase, researchers are expected to build their track record and to enhance their academic profile in order to enable them to successfully complete the tenure process. LMU offers various dedicated services and support measures for researchers during their tenure-track phase:

  • Guidance and consulting:
    As part of the appointment process, tenure-track professors will be invited to a welcome interview with a member of the University Governing Board to discuss their career development and the tenure process. Additionally, during the first two years of their tenure track phase, candidates will annually meet with the Dean of their faculty to discuss their individual progress and academic development.
  • Research support during the tenure-track phase:
    Tenure-track professors are eligible to apply for funding in the Junior Researcher Fund or the Investment Fund, which serve specifically to provide support for the procurement of external funding. In addition to financial support, researchers may also receive a temporary reduction of their teaching loads. Furthermore, candidates may apply for one-semester research sabbaticals in order to allow them to spend additional time to build their academic track record.
  • Additional services:
    In addition, LMU offers various faculty-specific and university-wide support services and course options to early-career researchers, e.g. in the areas of professional networking, research funding, teaching concepts and methods as well as the development of management skills.

Tenure Process

The tenure process at LMU describes the procedure resulting in a tenure decision based on a clear and transparent set of performance criteria.

The earliest date at which candidates may apply for tenure is 3 years after their appointment. Candidates will receive a letter specifically informing them about this option shortly after completion of their third year (of employment) as tenure-track professors. The latest date at which candidates may apply for tenure evaluation is the beginning of the fifth year of their tenure-track phase.

Following candidates’ applications for tenure evaluation, their individual faculty will establish a faculty commission: Based on at least two external reviews, this commission shall consider whether the performance criteria have been met. The tenure application and faculty vote will then be forwarded to a university-wide tenure commission which shall deliver an opinion on the tenure process. The University Governing Board will then make a decision about the tenure application based on the recommendations of both commissions.

If approved, candidates will be appointed to a permanent W2 professorship. In addition, from mid-2018, newly appointed tenure-track professors will receive a salary increase by a fixed sum when granted tenure.

If tenure is denied, candidates will be offered appropriate completion funding in order to provide sufficient time to find new employment.

Career Perspectives at LMU Following the Tenure Decision

Following the tenure decision and their appointment to a tenured professorship, candidates attain a position comparable to an Associate professorship (with tenure) at US-American universities. A total of around 350 positions at LMU have been reserved for these professorships on a long-term basis.

Tenured W2 professorships encompass all relevant rights and obligations. In addition, LMU offers various services and support measures such as the Investment Fund. Associate professors who demonstrate outstanding academic performance or take on additional responsibilities may receive an additional increase in salary. In exceptional cases of outstanding academic performance, W2 professorships can also be converted into a W3 position, comparable to a Full professorship at US-American universities.

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