Aarhus University Seal

Recruitment procedures: We’ve listened to what you had to say

The consultation on the revised recruitment procedures has now been completed. It gave rise to many consultation responses, several of which have resulted in specific adjustments. This is the case for e.g. the wish to see more female professors and the prioritisation of associate professor positions.

The faculty management team has now discussed the consultation responses from the staff meetings and written consultation responses, and Vice-dean for Research Ole Steen Nielsen is grateful for all the dedicated input from the academic environments, which has in many cases been incorporated in the final wordings.

We must promote the wish for more female professors

A not insignificant criticism has been whether the criteria perhaps give men preferential treatment at a time when the university claims to want more women in professorships.

"The quality requirements should remain the same regardless of gender, but we’ve worked to shape the requirements so they don’t only focus on the classic publication criteria. The criteria are broader and now place emphasis on, among other things, competent research management and the ability to be good supervisors. There must be no doubt that the faculty management team will bring gender distribution into play in our appointments. This has been a declared goal for years," says Ole Steen Nielsen.

The new wording – demonstrated e.g. by the ability to create a good work environment in the research groups – has have been singled out as a specific requirement in the assessment of applicants for professorships. In addition, Ole Steen Nielsen encourages attempts to make the wish for greater diversity even clearer in the final guidelines, for example through the composition of the assessment committee and by incorporating it into the work of the search committees. HE HR is continuing to work on this.

The Dean's Office will also participate in associate professor interviews

Another criticism from several consultation responses concerned the signal that could be seen in the Dean's Office only being part of the appointment committee when it came to appointing new professors. This criticism is taken into consideration, and the Dean's Office – generally Ole Steen Nielsen – will in future also participate in appointment interviews for tenured associate professor positions.

"We in the management team consider associate professors to be key personnel who really make a valuable contribution to both teaching and research. From now on, I will therefore also take part in interviews for tenured associate professor positions at the faculty," says the vice-dean, before adding that in future it is important for the faculty to increase focus on career guidance for associate professors in connection with the annual SDD dialogues. 

Search committees are time-consuming but correspondingly valuable

Several people have pointed out that the work of search committees is time-consuming and can, at worst, help to delay the appointment process.

"We understand the criticism, but we maintain that the procedures must necessarily be extended when we work with search committees. Search committees increase the quality of our recruitment work and are crucial for our desire to attract the most talented researchers – both nationally and internationally," says Ole Steen Nielsen and continues:

"However, I’d be very happy to look into whether we can form some guidelines for the practical work with search committees, so that we can help the departments."

The faculty management team maintains that all associate professor and professor positions must be advertised and that search committees must be used for each appointment. However, fully externally-financed associate professor and professor positions and fixed-term positions of less than one year are exempted from the search committee requirement, while the vice-dean can also grant exemptions from the rule in exceptional cases.

Other themes including career paths for internal applicants, shortlisting and the criteria for re-advertisement also featured among the consultation responses.

"I’d really like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for the many and constructive consultation responses and to assure them that we’ve listened, discussed and worked in-depth to adjust the appointment procedures, so that they are versatile and take both the practical and the strategic into account," says Ole Steen Nielsen.

The next step is for HE HR to work with the vice-dean on finalising the last details. The new appointment procedures will then be implemented in guidelines, forms, templates etc. All material will be available on Health's website on 15 September 2018, which is when the new appointment procedures come into force.

Want to find out more?

Read more about the work of evaluating Health's recruitment procedures in the articles Come to the consultation meetings about Health’s new principles for appointmentsWhat became of the wish for more female professors?Recruitment procedures need to be flexible and Recruitment procedures to be evaluated.

In the articles The new recruitment procedures at Health will soon come into force and What will the new recruitment procedures mean for you? (in Danish only), you can read more about Health’s recruitment procedures in general.


Vice-dean for Research Ole Steen Nielsen
Aarhus University, Health
Mobile: (+45) 2476 5093
Email: osn@au.dk