Yesterday, 22 February, the University Board approved a new appointments procedure for the University. The decision will hopefully add clarity to career paths and some important employment issues. The updating of the appointments procedure is mainly a result of legislative changes that will go into effect 1 April 2018.
More concretely, it will become possible to be appointed as biträdande lektor/associate senior lecturer within five years of completing a doctoral degree, and then to be considered for a position as lektor/senior lecturer after 4–6 years. A career development position that can lead to a professorship.
Another issue that deserves attention is what happens at the end of a career as professor. I think it is important that the University of Gothenburg take advantage of the competence and experience that our professors still have after age 67. Clarity and coherence in the career structure is also important. Today, not all higher education institutions do things the same way. I believe that the University Board’s elimination of the title and staff category senior professor/post retirement professor, as it lacks support in the Swedish Higher Education Act, will contribute to an increased clarity and standardisation.
But not everybody is happy. The other day, I received a letter from a group of post retirement professors at the University. They feel as if they are being victims of age discrimination and therefore oppose the University Board’s decision.
The elimination of post retirement professors as a staff category has nothing to do with the opportunities for retired professors to continue working for/at the University of Gothenburg, with or without a formal employment contract. It is also important to point out that all professors, after reaching retirement age, will always have the right to use the title professor emeritus/emerita.
I will shortly revise the rules for the continued contributions of retired professors at the University of Gothenburg. According to the new rules, the title of senior researcher will be introduced for employed professor emeriti. Similar to the current rules for post retirement professors, a post as senior researcher will have to be renewed every year and will not be subject to an upper age or time limit.
I appreciate the new appointments structure, as it will increase the opportunities for permanent employment and yield clearer career paths from the beginning to the end of the academic working life. In the end, what it all comes down to is the University’s ability to take care of and fully utilise its most important asset – its staff and everything they are able to contribute.