RECRUITMENT. The Vice-Chancellor or the heads of institute make the ultimate decision on hiring new teachers, but that choice is based on the work of an important committee of peers. The position almost always goes to the candidate recommended by the Academic Appointments Board.
The Academic Appointments Board is one of the faculty’s most important bodies, says Dean Agneta Holmäng:
“The Academic Appointments Board is very important for Sahlgrenska Academy’s long-term staffing planning. I have the greatest confidence in the work that is done in this committee, and am confident that the committee works with the transparency and legal certainty required”, she says.
Professors, associate professors, associate senior lecturers, postdoctoral research fellows, and lecturers: all are hired based on recommendations from Sahlgrenska Academy’s Academic Appointments Board. Recruitment decisions for professors are made by the Vice-Chancellor, while department heads make decisions for the other teaching categories. But it would take a great deal for them to ignore the recommendation culminating from the work of the Academic Appointments Board.
A long process
“The Academic Appointments Board’s decision is officially just an advisory recommendation, but the Vice-Chancellor or department head can hardly go against it. In exceptional cases, the department heads can choose to revoke the position if they do not agree with the name suggested by the Academic Appointments Board, but that’s highly unusual,” says Lars Fändriks, chair of the Academic Appointments Board.
The members have a dynamic collaboration, and the board works well together, according to Lars Fändriks.
“Much of the work is routine, but more challenging cases can come up and then suddenly everyone is on their toes.”
The recruitment process can take a very long time, during which support from HR experts at the Sahlgrenska Academy faculty office is very important. A typical recruitment begins well before the Academic Appointments Board gets involved. The department head begin working with human resource specialists and others to draft the advertisement and job description. The Council for Recruitment provides viewpoints and proposes changes before a permanent position is advertised. If the vacancy is a combination position, a representative from the relevant organization at Region Västra Götaland is also included. As chair of the Academic Appointments Board, Lars Fändriks is also one of many members of the Council for Recruitment.
A guarantor of fairness
The Academic Appointments Board considers fairness essential. Everyone on the board must be neutral; anyone with the slightest personal interest in a position must report a conflict of interest and abstain from the process. The Academic Appointments Board reviews the application documents and certificates to ensure everything appears correct.
The board appoints two experts, usually after a recommendation from the department head. However, for associate professors, if there is only one applicant, one expert is adequate. The experts evaluate the credentials of the various candidates and submit a report.
“The Academic Appointments Board can make decisions directly from the report from experts, but it’s become more common for us to bring in some of the applicants for an interview before we write our report for the department head,” says Johan Wessberg, vice chair of the Academic Appointments Board.
During the interview, the Academic Appointments Board focuses primarily on the candidate’s research network and other potential for collaborations and on the candidate’s credentials and visions for education. Meetings with the candidates take about 30 minutes. They consist of a twelve-minute introduction and a structured interview.
The interview is extremely valuable, and the candidates’ usually reveal their inclinations, according to Johan Wessberg.
“If we have three candidates, it is usually clear who stands out, and we tend to agree in our assessment. But sometimes we assess the candidates differently, and then we have to deliberate until we agree.”
Appeals are possible
After the decision from the department head or Vice-Chancellor, a three-week period of appeals begins, during which other candidates can write to the Board of Appeal in Uppsala if they disagree with the assessment of the recruitment process.
“The Board of Appeal primarily looks at the appointments in legal terms, while we conduct a more overall assessment. It’s unfortunate when cases are appealed, but it’s important for the opportunity to be available,” says Johan Wessberg.
The Academic Appointments Board also assists when lecturers or associate professors apply to be promoted to full professor. In addition, the Board helps with assessing the skill levels of adjunct teachers.
BY: ELIN LINDSTRÖM