Unions: internal candidates hardly got the chance to apply to arts assistant professor positions

The Faculty of Arts didn’t give internal candidates enough opportunity to apply to twenty-four assistant professor positions, say unions FNV, AOb, and CNV. 

In doing so, the faculty ignored the collective agreement as well as sector plans to reduce the number of temporary positions held by mostly young lecturers and researchers. One way to achieve that would be to give priority to suitable internal candidates in the case of available positions.

According to the unions, this didn’t happen with these twenty-four associate professor positions. ‘We heard various stories about it, so we had a look for ourselves’, says Nasser Kalantar on behalf of the unions. 

Demands

Hardly any of the more than one hundred temporary staff members at the arts faculty had been encouraged to apply, the unions noticed. ‘The arts faculty has the largest number of temporary academic staff members at the university’, says Kalantar. ‘But after an internal review by the faculty, only one from the entire pool of temporary and permanent lecturers is deemed suitable. What’s going on there?’

According to Kalantar, it’s partly to do with the demands the arts faculty sets for new associate professor positions. ‘They want people to have experience in both research and education, and be a game changer in their field. But the people applying to positions like these are young academics. How are they supposed to be game changers already?’

He also says it’s important that ‘recognition and appreciation’ are put into action by giving the good people you already employ the chance to continue their work and grow in a higher position.

Unsuitable

The unions also say the hiring process wasn’t transparent. Various people were told unofficially that they were unsuitable for the position, when they weren’t even aware of any internal appraisal. ‘That’s why they were afraid to apply’, says Kalantar. ‘But everyone should be able to.’

The unions wrote to both the faculty board and the university board of directors to express their concerns and to ask for the application deadline to be extended. But it wasn’t.

Hell of a job

The faculty board also discussed the process with the faculty council during the latest meeting. The board said that all faculty members had been informed of the positions through email when they were published online in late December. 

In the meantime, 570 people have applied to the twenty-four positions. It’s going to be one hell of a job to get through them all, says the board. Board member Wouter Heinen also says that the selection and advice committees have agreed that internal candidates will be prioritised if they’re just as suitable for the position as external ones. ‘This is a great opportunity to grow for ambitious people with a PhD.’

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