Associate Senior Lecturers

Associate Senior Lecturer, (also known as Assistant Professor in some countries), is a career-development position created to provide primarily newly-qualified PhDs the opportunity of a career path towards permanent employment as a senior lecturer. The position is regulated by Chapter 4, Sections 4a, 12a, and 12c of the Higher Education Ordinance.

Section 4a describes who can be employed as an associate senior lecturer and reads:

Those eligible to be employed as an associate senior lecturer are anyone who has completed a doctoral degree or has equivalent scientific competence. Primarily, those who have completed a doctoral degree or have reached the corresponding competence no more than five years before the application period for the position as associate senior lecturer has expired should be considered. However, in specific circumstances, such as leave taken due to long-term illness, parental leave or similar, applicants who completed a doctoral degree or achieved equivalent competence earlier may be considered.

Each university decides its own assessment criteria when employing an associate senior lecturer. Prior to such employment, the university is also to specify the assessment criteria that will be applicable for promotion to senior lecturer in accordance with Section 12c. Ordinance (2017: 844).

For employment within the state sector, Section 4 of the Public Sector Employment Act applies. This states that when employing, consideration is only to be given to objective criteria such as qualifications, experience and skills. Skills should be the primary criterion unless there are specific reasons to prioritise other factors. Chapter 4 Section 4a of the Ordinance, however, allows higher education institutions to deviate from this by employing persons who are less qualified. It states that institutions should primarily employ those who have a doctoral qualification that is no older than five years, although applicants who completed a doctoral degree or achieved equivalent competence earlier may be considered in certain circumstances, such as leave due to long-term illness, parental leave or similar. It is also important to remember that the five-year limit following doctoral qualification is not absolute. All PhD-qualified individuals have the right to apply and be assessed. The employer may, if it is deemed appropriate, still employ a person who completed their doctorate more than five years before the application date. This follows a ruling, (22-302-04), by the Higher Education Appeals Board (ÖNH). In its ruling, the Board states that it was permissible to employ a person who had a doctoral qualification that was a little more than five years old as the difference in qualifications compared with another applicant was sufficiently great.

Additionally, how an associate senior lecturer is to be employed is regulated in Chapter 4 Section 12a of the Ordinance. This states that an associate senior lecturer may be permanently employed, but for a maximum period of at least four and no more than six years as determined by the higher education institution before the employment commences. The purpose of the position is to give the teacher the opportunity to develop their independence as a researcher and to accumulate both scientific and pedagogical competence in order to meet the requirements for eligibility for a position as a senior lecturer.

Employment in accordance with the first paragraph may be extended for a maximum of two years in total if additional time is required to achieve the purpose of the employment due to the associate senior lecturer taking leave due to illness, parental leave or other similar circumstances.

For employment in accordance with the first and second paragraphs, the Employment Protection Act (1982:80) otherwise applies.

Exceptions from the first and second paragraphs may be made through collective agreements that have been concluded with or approved by a central employees’ organisation. Ordinance (2017:844).

This means that the applicant must be given an employment period of at least 4 years and a maximum of 6 years. This period may be extended in certain circumstances, but only up to a maximum total period of 6 years.

During your employment as an associate senior lecturer, you must apply for promotion to the position of senior lecturer and the position will then be converted into permanent employment as a senior lecturer. This type of promotion is regulated in section 12c of the Higher Education Ordinance. This states that an associate senior lecturer who is employed at a higher education institution in accordance with section 12a is to be promoted to senior lecturer at that institution upon application if he or she

  1. is qualified for a position as a senior lecturer, and

 2. is deemed suitable for such employment according to the assessment criteria that the institution, in accordance with the second paragraph of section 4a, determined would apply for promotion to the position of senior lecturer.

Such a promotion entails permanent employment as a senior lecturer. Ordinance (2017:844)

Here, it is important to bear in mind that the assessment criteria that form the basis for promotion must be included in the job advertisement and be clearly stated. The higher education institution may not subsequently set new requirements and criteria for promotion. It is also important to remember that, since 1 April 2018, decisions made on whether to grant or deny promotion to the position of senior lecturer can be appealed to the Higher Education Appeals Board. Additionally, local collective agreements normally regulate the conditions for employment, and they may also be regulated the higher education institution’s appointments procedure and promotions procedure. SULF recommends that you contact your local Saco-S organization for more information about what applies at your particular higher education institution regarding employment as an associate senior lecturer.

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