The Appointment Process in Detail

  DHV Seal of Approval

In August 2013, the fair and transparent recruitment process for professorial staff at RWTH Aachen was awarded with the seal of approval from the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV).

The appointment process has different stages and is governed by statutory provisions, such as the Higher Education Act, and numerous university regulations, like the Procedure Regulations and the Appointment Regulations (de).


Renewed Award for Fair and Transparent Appointment Negotiations

  1. In August 2021 RWTH successfully underwent the re-audit process, renewing the seal of approval for another five years. The German Association of Universiy Professors and Lecturers awards the seal for fair and transparent appointment negotiations.

1. Professorship Renewal Process

Before the departure or retirement of the current chairholder, the faculty council initiates the renewal process by filing an application for renewal of the professorship. If the post is reallocated to the faculty, this application forms the basis for content of the job advertisement. The Rector’s decision on the renewal and the job advertisement is based on long-term and current strategic parameters, such as the potential for innovation, competitiveness, and status of the subject area. After the reallocation has been approved, the job advertisement is published. With the aim to further internationalize the professorial staff and to increase the number of female professors, highly-qualified candidates are contacted directly and invited to apply.


2. Appointment Committee

The appointment committee is composed of members of the professorial staff, academic faculty, and the student body. They actively search for suitable candidates, view incoming applications and check employment criteria based on an individual catalogue of criteria formulated for the appointment procedure. The applicants are requested to fill in an academic CV form (de) to standardize and accelerate the assessment process.

Once the application deadline has passed, the appointment committee invites selected candidates to hold a trial lecture. Subsequently, a preliminary list of the most suitable candidates is created and external, comparative assessments of these candidates are requested. These expert reviewers – mostly professors – comment, among other things, on whether the candidates are suitable for appointment and give reasons for a ranking of applicants. On the basis of the trial lectures and the external assessments, the appointment committee compiles a final list which is forwarded to the faculty council, including all relevant documents as well as the votes of the Equal Opportunities and, possibly, the Disablility Liaison officers.

3. Approval of the List of Candidates

The faculty council discusses and votes on the list that has been forwarded by the appointment committee. The appointment file is then submitted to the Rector’s Office via the Department of Human Resources.

4. Decision by the Rectorate

In the HR Department, the appointment procedure and employment prerequisites of the candidates on the list are reviewed by the advisory team for appointments. If everything has been handled according to the applicable provisions and procedures, the file is submitted to the Rectorate. The appointment recommendation is discussed with the faculty conference and, if the recommendation is approved, the Rector offers the position to the first candidate on the list.

5. Preparation of the Appointment Negotiation

Immediately following the appointment offer, the Chancellor invites the candidate to take up appointment negotiations. If the candidate accepts the invitation, the respective faculty requests a teaching and research plan which outlines the planned activities of the candidate at RWTH Aachen, including details on staff, funding and office space requirements for the realization of this plan. The plan is discussed with the faculty to review its general feasibility at this early stage.

The teaching and research plan is then discussed and reviewed in a mandatory meeting of all involved departments of the university administration (Finance and Purchasing; Facility Management; Human Resources; and Planning, Development and Controlling) as well as the dean of the relevant faculty or school. This procedure is to warrant that all parties involved support the appointment offer. The record of this meeting is used as the basis for the negotiation.

At the same time, the head of Division 8.5 invites the candidate to discuss all aspects of the appointment procedure in person, especially the salary negotiations. He or she explains the principles according to which the appointment offer is prepared and the basis on which a salary offer is made. As professors in Germany are appointed as civil servants, typically many questions arise concerning this special status, e.g. concerning the benefits civil servants receive on top of the salary. All those questions can be discussed with the experts of the advisory team for appointments.

Various service centers of RWTH Aachen may become involved at this point, for example the Family Services Center or the Dual Career Service. They are contacted either on the initiative of the candidate or by the staff of the Welcome Service for Professors, who are looking involve the family of the candidate as early as possible.

6. Appointment Negotiation

Several people come together for the negotiation. Apart from the candidate, the Chancellor, a representative of the HR Department and the Dean of the respective faculty will be present. They seek to negotiate an appointment offer that is satisfactory to all sides. The salary and individual target agreements are discussed without participation of the faculty representatives. Often, questions relating to dual career opportunities are part of the negotiation as well.

7. Acceptance or Rejection

Provided that the candidate accepts the offer, the employment procedure is initiated. The respective Dean’s Office and all involved departments take the necessary steps for a speedy appointment of the new professor at RWTH Aachen.

If the candidate declines the offer, the next candidate on the list is contacted and appointment negotiations are initiated. If there are no more candidates on the list, the appointment process starts all over again and the post is advertised once more.

Should there be any questions concerning the appointment procedure at RWTH Aachen, please do not hesitate to contact the advisory team for appointments.


Advising Team

Name Faculty Contact
Christina Bausch
Faculty 1 (Physics and Chemistry)
Faculty 3
Faculty 6
Phone: +49 241 80 96235
Martina Rodloff-Dohmen Faculty 1 (Mathematics, Computer Science, and Biology)
Faculty 4
Phone: +49 241 80 94137
Anne Graetz Faculty 2
Faculty 7
Phone: +49 241 80 94132
Andrea Luchte Faculty 5 Phone: +49 241 80 94152
Caroline Groß Faculty 8 Phone: +49 241 80 94129