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Career policy for academic staff

Leiden University wants to attract the best academics. What requirements does it set for new academic staff members? What requirements must you meet for a career in academia? Read more about our career policy for academic staff.

PhD basis for academic career

You will need a PhD if you wish to take the next step in your academic career, regardless of whether this means working as a lecturer, associate professor or professor. This principle does not apply to faculties who are hiring lecturers on a temporary basis. In any other exceptions to the rule, the approval of the Executive Board will be needed.

Experience: within or outside academia

If you are applying for a permanent position, you must have experience outside Leiden University. This can be academic experience at another university or practical experience outside academia.

Performance and development

Once every year you will be invited to a Performance & Development Interview. Your performance and development over the past year will be appraised, and you will make agreements for the year to come.

Permanent contracts, promotions or other awards such as an extra salary raise or a bonus are dependent on the Performance & Development Interview. Your performance must have met the requirements for your position.

Teaching qualification

All university staff with a teaching role must possess one or more teaching qualifications.

PhD candidates and academic staff who have a 0.5 fte contract of less than a year must follow a basic course in teaching skills.

All professors, senior lecturers, associate professors and lecturers with a contract of at least one year for at least 0.5 fte must possess the University Teaching Qualification (BKO).

The Senior Teaching Qualification (SKO) is a qualification for staff who wish to work at a higher level in teaching innovation and development.

Gender diversity

To attract more talent to the University, we aim for greater gender diversity right up to the highest level. We therefore pay particular attention in our recruitment process to applications from people who are underrepresented within particular roles.

More information

For more information on the recruitment and support of academic staff, see the Guidelines on the Appointment of Academic Staff.

Tenure Track

The Faculty Science has offered a tenure track since 2007. This track is dedicated to the development of talented researchers to the position of Full Professor. It has a strong focus on coaching, training and evaluations.

If you are hired on the basis of the tenure track, you are principle be appointed as Assistant Professor on a temporary basis and for a period of 6 years. Due to this time limitation, you are expected to begin your research and the supervision of PhD candidates as soon as possible. The PhD candidates you supervise can be financed either through your own funding sources, such as a VIDI grant, or the institute will make available one or more PhD candidates.

Performance and Development Interviews

Leiden University conducts an annual Performance and Development Interview (P&D Interview) with each of its employees. As your formal supervisor, the Scientific Director is responsible for conducting a P&D interview with you. The Professor of your group or the Director of Education may also be present at this interview. In his role as assessing authority, the Dean is responsible for establishing a report of the interview.

The initial P&D Interview will take place within three months of the start of your appointment. In this interview, agreements are made for the coming year. These agreements relate to the tasks and results that will be assessed later in the year. The Initial Interview also provides an opportunity to discuss professional and personal development such as Teaching Qualification, P&D Interview Training for supervisors, Tenure Track supervision programme. All our Tenure trackers are assigned a mentor and if necessary a Dutch course is offered.

More information on the P&D cycle

Intermediate evaluation

In addition to the annual P&D interviews, an intermediate evaluation will be conducted approximately 3 years after the start of your appointment. In this preliminary evaluation, we assess whether you are actually ‘on track’. The assessment is based on the performance indicators for the requirements.

The Scientific Director will appoint a minimum of three assessors who have worked with you. These preferably include external referees.You will be asked to give a reflection on your progress of the past three years through a self-assessment. Here you specify which goals have been achieved, which focus points are there for the coming years and what kind of support you might need. The report of the intermediate evaluation will also be forwarded for information to the Faculty Board. The Human Resources Department will be sent a copy of the report to be included in your personnel file.

If your performance is satisfactory, you will be able to proceed with the track. In order to be promoted to the position of University Lecturer 2 or University Lecturer 1, you are required to have completed the BKO certificate (Basic Teaching Qualification).

If it becomes apparent from the evaluation that you are not expected to meet the performance indicators of the final evaluation within the remaining years, agreements can be made regarding the subsequent stage. This might involve an offer of guidance, for example in the form of career counselling.

Final evaluation

Within 5 years,  or within 58 months after the start of your appointment the Scientific Director starts the assessment whether you meet the required performance criteria. The key question in this context is whether you are playing a leading role both in your research and in your teaching and administrative tasks, in accordance with the performance indicators for Associate Professor.

The file for the final evaluation consists of a motivated statement by the Scientific Director; letters from at least three external referees, and a report by the Director of Education regarding your qualities as a teacher and your completion of the BKO certificate and recent student evaluations. In addition, the file also contains your vision on your own research and teaching, your plans for the coming period, and an extensive CV. The Scientific Director sends this final evaluation file to the Faculty Board (with a copy for the HR Department) before the 62nd month of your appointment. The Faculty Board then requests the advice of the permanent Science Committee (WeCo). The Faculty Board reaches its final decision on the basis of this advice.

If the decision is positive, you will be appointed Associate Professor on a contract of indefinite duration.

If the decision is negative, your appointment will be terminated. Agreements can be made regarding career counselling. You will also be given the opportunity to follow training or a career advice track so that you can apply for another position elsewhere.

Promotion to full professor

As a rule, within three to five years, associate professors are nominated by the Scientific Director for a position as full professor. At the Faculty of Science, the position of Associate Professor is not a final position; you may expect to progress to full professor. Your nomination is submitted to the Executive Board via the Faculty Board, following consultation with the Science Committee (WeCo). It is based on the performance criteria and the professorship policy.

If at any point in time you’re unable to meet the required quality level criteria, we will, in consultation, instigate a procedure aimed at finding you a position outside the Faculty.

Evaluation steps

Tenure Track

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