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

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

Junior academics 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 these professorships may be converted into permanent posts at a later stage. Successful tenure-track candidates are appointed to a professorship at LMU with all the corresponding rights and obligations. A tenure-track position at LMU is considered to be the equivalent of an Assistant Professorship (as compared to US universities such as UC Berkeley).

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 universities.

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

  • First, job openings for professorships (for which junior academics may apply) are regularly advertised by LMU’s 18 faculties.
  • 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 are at liberty to negotiatate with LMU concerning the conditions of their appointment. These negotiations, for example, can determine the salary and the professorship's endowment.

In the course of this appointment process, candidates will also receive all the information they need concerning the tenure-track process itself.

In 2008 LMU compiled a performance criteria catalog. This is regularly reviewed and contains information concerning the criteria that affect the final decision to award tenure. In general, however, these criteria center around an evaluation of the candidate’s

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

In the process leading up to the granting of tenure, candidates are regularly informed of these criteria, and the necessary further steps. Specific questions concerning an individual's tenure track are also covered off in the process leading up to the candidate’s appointment.

Following a successful appointment, candidates hold their professorship post for a fixed-term of six-years. This officially represents the start of their tenure-track phase.

During their tenure-track phase, academics are expected to develop themselves and enhance their academic profile. This will ensure they successfully complete the tenure process. And LMU offers a number of dedicated services to help with just that:

  • Academic counseling:
    As part of the appointment process, tenure-track professors are invited to a welcome interview with a member of the University Governing Board to discuss their career development and the tenure process. During the first two years of the tenure-track phase, candidates will additionally have the opportunity to meet on an annual basis 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 from the Junior Researcher Fund or the Investment Fund. These are specifically intended to provide support for the procurement of external funding. In addition to financial support, academics may also be granted a temporary reduction in their teaching loads. On top of this, candidates are free to apply for a research sabbatical (that lasts one semester). This allows them to devote additional time to building up their academic profile.
  • Additional services:
    LMU also offers a variety of faculty-specific and university-wide support services and courses for junior academics. These include help with professional networking, research funding, teaching concepts and methodology, and the development of management skills — to list just some of them.

The tenure process at LMU refers to the procedure which culminates in a decision to grant (or deny) tenure. Such a decision is based on a clear and transparent set of performance criteria.

The tenure process is initiated following the submission of an "application for tenure evaluation" by the candidate concerned. The earliest date at which candidates may receive tenure is three years after their appointment. Candidates should expect to receive a letter specifically informing them of this option during their tenure-track phase. The latest date at which candidates may apply for tenure evaluation is at the beginning of the fifth year of their tenure-track phase.

Following the candidate's "application for tenure evaluation," the faculty responsible establishes a Faculty Commission. Based on at least two external reviews, this Commission considers whether the relevant performance criteria have been met. The tenure application and faculty vote are then forwarded to a university-wide Tenure Commission, which delivers an opinion on the tenure process. The University Governing Board then makes a decision concerning the tenure application based on the recommendations of both commissions.

If approved, candidates are appointed to a permanent W2 professorship. In addition, from mid-2018, newly appointed tenure-track professors receive a salary increase (on a fixed-sum basis) when tenure is granted.

If tenure is denied, candidates are 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 appointment to a tenured professorship, the candidate concerned receives a position comparable to that of the Associate Professor (with tenure) offered at US universities. From a planning perspective, there are 350 positions at LMU that have been reserved for such professorships on a long-term basis.

Tenured W2 professorships naturally encompass all the relevant rights and obligations. But LMU also offers additional support services which include — for example access to the Investment Fund. Associate Professors who demonstrate outstanding academic performance or take on additional responsibilities may also stand to receive a salary raise. Indeed, in exceptional cases of outstanding academic performance, a W2 professorship can also be turned into a W3 position. This is comparable to a the Full Professorship offered at US 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.

What are you looking for?