by Anja Kürbis


"Apply now for professorship"

This call appeared in the Ilmenauer Hochschulblatt on February 10, 1992.. It was the official starting signal of the so-called professional evaluation. This followed on the heels of the internal evaluation. While the initial task was to examine the personal and political-moral integrity of the scientific and administrative staff, the focus now shifted to the evaluation of the professional performance of the university teachers and the scientific mid-level staff.


Legal regulation

The Evaluation Regulations for Thuringian Universities of June 6, 1991, also fixed the legal framework. Subject commissions were to be set up at each university to examine whether "professors, lecturers and other members of the university who were eligible for appointment in non-tenured areas" had the "qualifications required for appointment as university lecturers". (HSchulEvalO TH § 5 para. 1) For academic and artistic staff, the commissions had to decide whether to transfer them to temporary or fixed-term employment or to give them notice of termination. (ibid. § 6 para. 9).

Reception of the commission members in Ilmenau on February 7, 1992 (source: UAI, negative 920207-4).

Phase 1: The professional evaluation of the university teachers

In accordance with the requirements of the evaluation regulations, five expert commissions were formed at Technische Hochschule Ilmenau. While the Faculties of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, and Mechanical Engineering each had one expert commission, the Faculty of Computer Science and Automation had two commissions covering the areas of computer science and automation. Each commission consisted of five professors, most of whom came from the West German states, two mid-level staff members, one student representative and one representative of the respective faculty. The members of the expert commissions were proposed by the deaneries and approved by the senate.

At a reception in Ilmenau on February 7, 1992, State Secretary Dr. Brans, the representative of the Ministry of Science and Art, Mrs. Harjes-Ecker, and Rector Prof. Köhler explained the procedure of the evaluation to the commission members: Until February 21, all university teachers had the opportunity to apply for a total of 89 professorships at the TH Ilmenau. Which professorships were available could be seen in the published personnel structure plan. The expert commissions had to examine the applications, draw up rank lists and send the recommendation to both the Ministry of Science and Art and the Rector. The Minister decided on the appointment on the basis of these recommendations, the opinion of the Senate and the opinion of the Personnel Commission. When filling the position, first of all the applications of employees of the TH Ilmenau were to be considered, then the Thuringian university teachers and only if still no suitable candidate could be found, the professorship was to be advertised nationwide. (Source: UAI, Senate minutes 27.02.1992)

The procedure was carried out under high time pressure, as the first professorships were to be filled with the start of the winter semester 1992/93. And despite some objections to the procedure and recommendations of the expert commissions, despite uncertainties of the commission members that were rather audible between the lines, the plan worked out. On October 17, 1992, not only did the first university students begin their studies, but the first professors under new law at Technische Universität Ilmenau received their certificates of appointment. University professors who had not applied or whose applications were unsuccessful were given the opportunity to use the title "professor of old law".


Phase 2: The professional evaluation of the scientific mid-level staff

The second phase began as early as April 1992. Here, too, there were legal framework conditions and instructions for action from the responsible offices; here, too, the existence of a position in the personnel structure plan was an essential prerequisite. Here, too, six expert commissions were formed (the sixth was located at the new Faculty of Economics). However, the procedure differed from that of the evaluation of university teachers, even though State Secretary Brans spoke here of an "appointment-like procedure": within one month, each academic staff member had to provide information about his or her qualities in research and teaching in a questionnaire. The questionnaires were then reviewed by the expert commissions and recommendations were drawn up. Both the Senate and the Social Selection Committee, which was to be formed, then had the opportunity to comment. All of this ultimately formed the basis for the Minister's final decision. With a few exceptions, this phase was also completed in the same year.

Appointment of the first professors of new law on 17.10.1992 (Source: UAI, Negative 921017-2-23)

Personnel structure

In order to achieve the targeted ratio of permanent to temporary positions (30:70) as outlined in the staffing structure plan, academic staff have been given several options:

  • Employees under 40 years of age in qualification phase receive a temporary qualification position
  • Employees under 40 who have completed their doctorate will receive either a temporary qualification position or a permanent position
  • Employees over 40 who have not been transitioned to a permanent position will remain in their employment status
  • Employees who reach retirement age within 5 or fewer years are recommended for early retirement. (Source: UAI, Senate Minutes 07.04.1992.

The Senate's "Guidelines for Professional Evaluation" made it clear that the professional commissions had to take into account the "specific working conditions of the past." And those who had been disadvantaged for political reasons up to 1989 were to be offered permanent positions if suitable. (Source: UAI, Senate minutes 07.04.1992)

For Rector Köhler, it was precisely this aspect that was associated with great hopes, which he expressed in June with the following words:


"So wird nach und nach ein zunehmend größer werdender beruhigter Kern entstehen, dessen Kraft und Moral gebraucht werden wird, um die Unruhe eines immer kleiner werdenden Personenkreises in Grenzen zu halten und ganz auszuräumen. Es ist hoffentlich die letzte Runde in der Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung, und ich vertraue wie bisher auf die Gewissensentscheidung der Betroffenen ."

(Source: IHB 35, 1992, 9, p. 3)