The introduction of junior professorships in 2002 has created another model to attain professorship qualifications besides the traditional postdoctoral lecturing qualification (“habilitation”). A junior professorship enables young researchers at an early stage to carry out independent research and teaching; at the same time, junior professors are involved in academic self-government.
As a rule, postdoctoral candidates must have achieved outstanding results in their doctorate and show pedagogic and didactic talent in order to be appointed to a junior professorship. Moreover, the doctoral or employment phase before the appointment to a junior professorship should not have taken longer than six years (in medicine nine years). Additional requirements to proof qualifications may be in place according to the respective discipline.
The junior professorship is divided into two phases: After the first three years, an evaluation decides whether the junior professorship will be extended for another three years. The junior professorship may also be linked with a tenure track option, provided, however, the researcher in question has been working at another university before his or her appointment to the junior professorship.
The evaluation focuses on the postdoc’s research and teaching achievements, but activities within academic self-government are also considered. After completion of the sixth year, a final evaluation decides – in cases of tenure track options – whether the junior professor will be appointed to a tenured professorship.
The Senate of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has adopted Recommendations and Criteria for the Evaluation of Junior Professors in 2004 which have been integrated in different ways into the evaluation regulations of the faculties.
The Senate’s decision names the evaluation’s central aspects, makes recommendations regarding the procedure, and names the most important evaluation criteria. The evaluation is carried out by the faculties which set up an evaluation commission that should focus on the factors research, teaching and commitment to academic self-government. Further details can be found in the faculties’ evaluation rules.
In an agreement laying down objectives for the future that JGU has concluded with the competent Ministry, JGU has determined that in the future, half of all advertised junior professorship positions are to be linked with tenure track options. However, the junior professorship can only be given to researchers who have worked at another university before accepting the junior professorship. Internal tenure track options within JGU, in Germany also known as in-house appointments (“Hausberufung”), are set out in the guidelines for the appointment of professors at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (dated 6 May 2011).