RWTH Recognized for Its Fair and Transparent Appointment Negotiations


RWTH Aachen University succeeds in retaining the DHV seal of approval.


RWTH Aachen University will continue to have the seal of approval from the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (Deutscher Hochschulverband, or DHV for short) for its fair and transparent recruitment process for professorial staff. In August 2013, it was the first university in Germany to be awarded the DHV seal of approval. After 2016, the re-audit process, which is due after five years, has now been successfully completed for the second time.

According to the DHV, RWTH continues to be exceptionally well-positioned with respect to both the appointment process and the appointment negotiations. One indicator of RWTH's appointment policy is the high success rate in appointments. In 83 percent of all cases, the university wins the first-placed candidate on an appointment list, and in 81 percent of cases, it successfully concludes retention negotiations. RWTH has further improved the procedures by establishing an appointment monitor and offering transparent information on filling professorships. Appointment negotiations are held quickly and in an atmosphere of mutual appreciation and respect. The excellent support for new professors through target group-specific further and advanced training offers remains exemplary.

In some minor areas, the DHV still sees room for improvement. For instance, the DHV would suggest that RWTH hold regular appointment negotiations also with junior professors who are not in a tenured position. Furthermore, the association recommends defining a non-reducible basic or minimum endowment in the context of appointment negotiations, as this could additionally increase the satisfaction of newly appointed professors.

A Vote of Confidence

“The DHV seal of approval strengthens confidence in the professional conduct of appointment negotiations - both within RWTH and among applicants for professorships,” explains RWTH Aachen University Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven. “Through the regularly conducted re-audits, RWTH critically examines its appointment processes on a regular basis and then adapts processes quickly and situationally.” The re-audit process is based on the first quality seal process, which is based on a questionnaire, and additional re-audit questions. The emphasis in the evaluation was placed on fairness, appreciation, transparency, and reliability in the appointment and retention negotiations. Statements from the university were also included in the assessment. In addition, there were interviews with professors appointed to the respective university on their experiences in the appointment process as well as the empirical knowledge of the DHV justices. The DHV advises academics in around 70 percent of all appointment and tenure negotiations in Germany.

Besides RWTH Aachen University, the University of Cologne, TU Kaiserslautern, FernUniversität Hagen, the University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Bremen, the University of Siegen, the University of the Federal Armed Forces Munich, TU Munich, the University of Hanover, the University of Hohenheim, the University of Münster, the University of Bayreuth, BTU Cottbus, the University of Wuppertal, the University of Mainz and TU Chemnitz have so far been awarded the DHV seal of approval for transparent and fair appointment negotiations. In addition, the Department of Medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt and the University Hospital Frankfurt have been awarded the DHV seal of approval for fair and transparent appointment procedures in university medicine.