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.
Timeline for the Tenure Phase
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).
The Mentoring Team
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
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.
Summary and assessment of performance in the categories research & development, academic teaching, and academic engagement (see Evaluation policies for the TUM Faculty Recruitment and Career System).
Assessment of assistant professor’s academic development potential, recommendations and identification of the career prospects.
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, offer of a professorship from another university).
Performance Evaluation Criteria
Performance is evaluated in the following categories:
Research & development
Download: Documents on the TUM Faculty Recruiting and Career System
- Official Statute on TUM’s career system for professors:
TUM's Recruitment and Career System (PDF, 3,3 MB); English text: pp. 60
- Evaluation of professors:
Evaluation Policies for the TUM Faculty Recruitment and Career System (PDF, 300 KB); English text: pp. 9
- Code of conduct for the work of appointment committees:
TUM Faculty Recruitment Code of Conduct (PDF, 114 KB)
- Guidelines for the appointment process:
Richtlinien zum Berufungsverfahren (in German; PDF, 300 KB)
TUM Faculty Tenure Track is a central part of the university's institutional strategy.