Appointment (office)

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In Germany, appointment refers to the appointment to an employment relationship .

Service law

Civil servants , soldiers ( professional and temporary soldiers ) and judges are appointed to civil servants, military service or judges. It is carried out according to the principles of suitability , qualification and professional performance and is only permitted for the performance of sovereign tasks . In principle, the person to be appointed must have German citizenship and guarantee that they will stand up for the free democratic basic order at all times . Depending on the position or rank or career to be transferred , certain previous and training courses are required.


The appointment to a chair or to take on a professorship as an offer to a qualified teacher is also called a call .

Appointment requirements

In general, the following prerequisites for admission to an appointment procedure must be observed, whereby the individual regulations (basic regulations or similar) of the universities provide detailed information (using the example of North Rhine-Westphalia):

  • Completed university degree.
  • Pedagogical aptitude, which is usually proven through experience in teaching and training.
  • Special aptitude for scientific work, which is usually proven by the quality of a doctorate .
  • For university professors, additional scientific achievements that are provided as part of a junior professorship , habilitation or other scientific activities at universities, non-university research institutions or in industry.
  • For professors at universities (e.g. universities of applied sciences, universities of applied sciences, technical universities) special achievements in the application or development of scientific knowledge in at least five years of professional experience, of which at least three years must be carried out outside the university area.
  • For professors with (dental) medical tasks, recognition as a specialist .
  • In artistic subjects, the condition of scientific qualification can be replaced by a special qualification for artistic work.
  • In Germany, there is also a general ban on domestic appointments .

Appeal process

The right to make proposals goes back to Article 5, Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law , which grants freedom of research and teaching . An appeal is exceptionally possible on the basis of a “special vote”, which is contrary to the Senate proposal (this only happens if the commission could not agree on a list). In Catholic theological departments, the consent of the local bishop is necessary because of the training of the clergy on the basis of the Concordats (see also Concordat Chair ). For professorships in Protestant theology, there are usually corresponding agreements between the states and the regional churches .

In Germany and Austria , the faculty that has to fill a vacant chair or professorship usually uses an appointment procedure to select a professor. An appointment procedure is a kind of application with very tight legal frameworks. For university professors , it is aimed in Germany after the Higher Education Act (HRG), the Land legislation and the appointment order of the respective university. In Austria the procedure is fundamentally regulated by the Universities Act 2002 (or earlier UOG 1975, UOG 1993) and specifically regulated by the appointment regulations of each individual university. In many countries the regulations on appointments have been or are being reformed. The basic principle, however, is always that of co-optation by the professors who are already working at the university and who use a precisely regulated procedure to select their future colleagues.

Most of the appointment procedures in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have the following basic steps in common (with sometimes very different specifications depending on the country or institution):

  1. Advertisement with job description and requirements profile
  2. Initial selection of applicants according to formal and minimum criteria and / or assessment of the writings of selected applicants by the scientific members of the appointment committee
  3. Test lectures of the remaining applicants and questioning by the commission; Teaching samples are also increasingly being requested
  4. Obtaining external reports mostly on the three best applicants, in Austria before the trial presentations
  5. Creation of an appointment list ("listable" applicants, basically 3 people) by the appointment committee on the basis of the provided documents, the external reports and the trial presentations
  6. Internal university resolutions (rector / president and / or university senate and / or university council / administrative board )
  7. In some German federal states, final decision by the state ministry responsible for science. In the course of reforms in the sense of a comprehensive transfer of responsibilities to the universities (university autonomy), the requirement of ministerial approval is increasingly being dispensed with. In the case of theological professorships, the consent of the responsible church bodies may be required.
  8. Appointment negotiations take place after the call has been granted. If the winner rejects the call, the call goes to the runner-up. If all three listed persons reject the offer, the procedure has failed and the position must be advertised again.

In certain exceptional cases , for example in the context of endowed or Heisenberg professorships, an open advertisement and the creation of a list of appointments can be dispensed with with the approval of the relevant bodies and the university management; In these cases too, however, an appointment committee will check the applicant's technical suitability.

An appointment procedure in Germany takes on average one to two years, but at least several months. It replaces any civil service career examinations . The legal complaint against an appeal procedure by an unsuccessful competitor for the professorial position is the competitor complaint .


The positions for professorships must be advertised, i. In other words, there is a public tendering obligation. Exceptions are only possible in certain special cases, especially in connection with third-party funding , and require the approval of the university bodies.

Appeals Committee


Most appointment committees have around 12 to 14 members. The commission usually consists of representatives of the professors , the academic staff (university assistants) and the students or student council. Appointment committees are always composed in such a way that the members of the first group cannot be overruled by the other members ( professors majority ). In some countries, students only have an advisory voice.

In addition, one or two professors from other universities are often included as experts in the appointment committee; this is usually not mandatory, unless it is about the only professorship for this subject at the university in question: In this case, external members must ensure that representatives of the subject concerned participate in the commission.

Selection process

Appointment committees use various methods to assess the quality of the research results and the teaching qualifications of the candidates: magazine ratings (journal ranking) , external reports on individual candidates, comparative reports between two or more candidates, trial lectures on given or self-selected topics and the like. The appointment committee draws up a list of three candidates, the so-called triple list . The candidates are in a hierarchy with the addition of reports called independent professors and on the faculty council of the Senate rsp. Rectorate / Presidium of the university confirmed. The Latin terms primo loco , secundo loco and tertio loco are used for the order of the selected candidates on the list . A corresponding list of such placements can often be found in the curriculum vitae of university lecturers.

Responsibility of the ministry

As a rule, the responsible state minister will select the first named from the list of three and offer him the chair or professorship. The minister is not bound by the list and may prefer another suitable candidate. In some countries, e.g. B. Brandenburg , Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia , the right to appeal has meanwhile passed to the universities themselves, so that the university management announces the call instead of the state minister. This has led to a reduction in the average duration of the proceedings.

Appeal Negotiations

During the appointment negotiations , the conditions for the appointment are determined with the candidate. In addition to issues relating to civil servants and salary law, they concern the obligations and the material and personnel resources of the chair or professorship. Just when the sage already holds a professorship at another university and can therefore negotiate with two universities at the same time (his previous university will usually tenure negotiations bring with him), these negotiations can drag on for months. If the negotiations fail or if the call is rejected by the applicant, the call is sent to the next placed on the list.


In Germany, the transfer of the W2 or W3 professorship is usually associated with an appointment as a civil servant for life. In some German federal states, an initial appointment is often initially made on a temporary basis. However, a professorship as an employee is also possible if, for example, the requirements for civil service are not met. In Austria, since 2002 it has only been possible to appoint a full-time professor (see University Act 2002 ).

The appointment of a professor from your own university is known as a house appointment . In contrast to Austria, domestic appointments are very uncommon in Germany and only permitted under special circumstances (see ban on domestic professions ). In the case of a house appointment made as an exception, the candidate should stand out very significantly from the other competitors in terms of suitability; this must also be justifiable. In other countries, especially those where the university system is not so well developed, home appointments are more common: Internationally, professors can often be promoted from a lower professorial position to a higher professorial position (in the USA, for example, from assistant professor to associate professor and further to full professorship Professor).

See also


  • Christine Färber and Ute Riedler: Black Box Appointment: Strategies on the Way to Professorship . Campus Verlag, 2nd edition, Frankfurt / New York, 2016, ISBN 978-3-593-50641-8 .
  • Linda Dekkers (editor), Anke Wilde (author), Noreen Leipold (illustrator): On the way to professorship: The Postdoc Primer . academics GmbH, 1st edition, Hamburg, 2016, ISBN 978-3-9817015-2-4 .
  • Astrid Kaiser: Travel guide for a university career: between snake pit and science oasis . UTB GmbH, 1st edition, Stuttgart, 2015, ISBN 978-3-8252-4453-8 .
  • Renate Kerbst: Successful appointment interviews: Basics - Practice - Outlook . Lemmens Medien, 1st edition, Bonn / Berlin, 2014, ISBN 978-3-86856-010-7 .
  • Mirjam Müller: PhD - Postdoc - Professorship: Career Planning in Science . Campus Verlag, 1st edition, Frankfurt / New York, 2014, ISBN 978-3-593-50172-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Civil Service Act
  2. Soldiers Act
  3. ^ German Judges Act
  4. a b Christine Färber and Ute Riedler: Black Box Appointment: Strategies on the Way to Professorship . Campus Verlag, 2nd edition, Frankfurt / New York, 2016, ISBN 978-3-593-50641-8 , pp. 75 ff.
  5. Austria Press Agency (APA): New professors come more often from abroad than from Austria. In: The Standard. July 9, 2015, accessed May 6, 2019 .