LMU Tenure Track Model

More than ten years ago now, LMU was one of the first universities in Germany to introduce so-called tenure-track professorships. Since then, the University has dedicated its tenure-track program to providing outstanding junior academics with an early perspective on an attractive career path leading to a permanent LMU professorship

LMU Tenure Track-Model

Junior researchers are eligible to apply for a tenure-track professorship at LMU (see "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 (see. "Tenure process") leads to a permanent W2 professorship. These positions are comparable to the Associate Professorship (with tenure) offered at US-American universities.

LMU offers two possible ways to apply for a tenure-track professorship at the University:

  • First, regular job openings for professorships throughout LMU’s 18 faculties for which junior researchers may apply.
  • Second, LMU faculties have the option to offer W2 tenure-track professorships to junior academics who have won highly prestigious international prizes. Currently, this option is aimed only at successful ERC Starting Grantees.

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 fixedterm six-year professorships. This marks the start of their 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 onesemester research sabbaticals in order to allow them to spend additional time to build their academic track record.
  • Additional services:
    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.

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

The tenure process is initiated following candidates‘ submission of an application for tenure evaluation. The earliest date at which candidates may receive tenure is 3 years after their appointment. Candidates will receive a letter specifically informing them about this option during their tenure-track phase. 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.

Tenure evaluation: performance criteria

Research performance

  • Publications: number and volume of publications; frequency of citations; significance of the publishing journals in their individual fields of research
  • Funding grants and other awards
  • Research awards

Teaching Performance

  • Teaching experience: duration and thematic breadth
  • Faculty evaluation of the candidate’s teaching performance. Presentation of the candidate’s teaching portfolio and/or selected teaching materials
  • Number of theses supervised
  • Teaching awards

Further performance indicators

  • Promotion of junior academics
  • List place for professorship appointment at other universities
  • Invitations to guest professorships or other guest teaching opportunities at other higher education institutions
  • Invitations to give talks and/or attend academic national or international events
  • Membership to scientific committees, expert panels, advisory boards, associations and societies
  • Engagement as an academic reviewer or expert
  • Publications in international academic journals
  • Organization of international conferences

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.

In response to its application for competitive funding from the Joint Federal and State Support Program for Junior Academics (WISNA), LMU has been awarded sufficient resources for the creation of 20 new tenure-track professorships. These new positions, which must be filled by May 31, 2023, will enable highly qualified junior academics to be recruited over the coming years.

Today, more than 200 researchers hold a tenure-track professorship at the University or have received tenure at LMU.

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