The Tenure Phase: From Appointment to Tenure Evaluation

Assistant professors are expected to develop their academic profile during the tenure phase. To give them guidance, they are accompanied by a mentoring team comprised of experienced professors. The university follows the progress of its assistant professors through performance interviews and status assessments. The quality-based tenure evaluation takes place at the end of the tenure phase. A positive result is required for promotion to a tenured W3 professorship.

The Tenure phase usually lasts for six years. During this time, TUM evaluates its assistant professors on a regular basis using transparent criteria (see Evaluation).

  • Year 1: Appointment of the mentoring team

  • End of 1st year: Annual performance interview

  • End of 2nd year: Status assessment (incl. annual performance interview)

  • End of 3rd year: Annual performance interview

  • End of 4th year: Second status assessment (incl. annual performance interview)

  • End of 5th year: Annual performance interview

  • 6th year (usually): Tenure evaluation

The tenure phase can be completed in a shorter timeframe in exceptional cases justified by outstanding achievements (fast tenure track).

A mentoring team is assigned to the assistant professor during the tenure phase. The team comprises a professor from the assistant professor’s department and a second professor from a different TUM department or another university.

  • The role of the team is to build trust and look after the assistant professor.

  • It advises and supports the assistant professor to help them build their own research work group, secure basic department resources eligible for external funding, prepare research proposals, build and extend their network within the scientific community, develop their teaching program and assess their own performance.

  • It takes part in the annual performance interviews together with the dean of the department.

Annual performance interviews with assistant professors are conducted by their dean of the department and their mentoring team. The objective is to prevent off-track developments at an early stage and make a realistic assessment of the assistant professor’s performance and progress based on an analysis of strengths and weaknesses. 

Status assessments consist of a presentation open to the entire university in which the assistant professors outline the progress of their work to date, as well as an annual performance interview in which the candidates presents what they have achieved so far and goals for the future, including a self-assessment.

The objective of the status assessments is to provide orientation and a success forecast for the tenure process. If necessary, the assistant professor’s personal development plan will be revised on the basis of the findings from these assessments.

The outcome of the tenure evaluation is central for the decision whether the assistant professor will be appointed to a tenured position as associate professor (W3) or whether their career at TUM should come to an end.

The tenure evaluation usually takes place in the sixth year following initial appointment to assistant professor. Early tenure evaluation (fast tenure track) can be initiated at the earliest in the fourth year and only in exeptional cases (e.g. ERC grant, Heisenberg Professorship, Sofia Kovalevskaja Prize).

Performance is evaluated in the following categories:

  • Research & development

  • Academic teaching

  • Academic engagement

See: Evaluation policies for the TUM Faculty Recruitment and Career System

Download: Documents on the TUM Faculty Recruitment and Career System