Team of the Month 05/2021: Senior faculty recruitment team successfully completes 30 selection proceedings


In a normal year, about seven senior faculty selection proceedings are held throughout the year. In the last two years, however, a total of 30 proceedings were running simultaneously. The proceedings included mainly positions resulting from the major human resource package included in the 2019–21 Performance Agreement, as well as a number of other positions that were already scheduled for replacement. The fact that we were able to complete all these proceedings, which are carried out according to strict quality standards, is a great success for WU, especially since conditions were further complicated last year by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions.

Senior faculty recruitment team

Nicole Rogaunig, Christine Auböck-Holzer (both Senior Faculty Recruitment and Welcome Services unit in the Rector’s Office), and Brigitte Krammer (Senate Office)

A few facts and figures:

  • The 30 proceedings included 25 “Performance Agreement positions” and five replacement positions.

  • They resulted in 114 hearings (four to six applicants per proceeding).

  • In each of the 30 proceedings, nine people plus one member of the Equal Opportunities Committee were involved in each Search Committee, and at least three external reviewers were consulted.

  • These in turn led to 48 hiring negotiations by the Rector, held in person on campus or, since last spring, virtually. Some were concluded successfully and others unfortunately were not.

It’s not just the quantity but also the quality of the proceedings that counts
  • In order to give junior researchers a chance at a senior faculty position, “open-rank” calls were launched for the first time at WU, offering junior applicants the possibility of an initial temporary appointment or permanent appointments for more established candidates. The decision criteria for these options were based on the candidates’ academic age.

  • The uLiKe concept, a multidimensional academic performance assessment model that includes research, teaching, and third mission activities and considers these in the overall context of biographical factors such as career interruptions or part-time employment, plays an important role in the recruitment proceedings. The implementation of uLike resulted in some changes to the recruitment process prior to this large wave of open positions to be filled, including additions to the advertising copy, the development of an online application form, an evaluation form for operationalizing advertising criteria, and extensive guidelines for external assessors.

Many people need to work together to carry out selection proceedings successfully. The Senior Faculty Recruitment and Welcome Services unit in the Rector’s Office, consisting of Nicole Rogaunig and Christine Auböck-Holzer, acts as the central administrative interface. They accompany the entire proceeding, from drafting the advertising copy to the signing of the employment contract. Brigitte Krammer is responsible for the Senate’s agendas in selection proceedings. These three individuals have done an impressive job in managing this exceptionally high number of recruiting proceedings.

The Senior Faculty Recruitment and Welcome Services unit advertised the open professorships, some even twice after unsuccessful negotiations, kept track of the applications, provided support to the Search Committees upon request, and finally assisted the Rector in the hiring negotiations. It was not just the number of simultaneous proceedings that was challenging, however. Although the selection procedure at WU is laid down both in the Universities Act and WU’s By-Laws and follows a well-established process, there are always additional, often very specific issues that need to be dealt with. WU’s Welcome Services also play an important role, especially in attracting international professors. Christine Auböck-Holzer and Nicole Rogaunig are also available to help new faculty members with a wide variety of issues like finding housing, visa and residence questions, relocation issues of all kinds (e.g. with pets), insurance, kindergarten and school places, dual careers, etc.

The Senate plays an important role early in the selection proceedings, and Brigitte Krammer and her colleagues in the Senate Office (Doris Binderbauer, Sebastian Yannick Lendl, Timea Rebstock, Kristina Reinhart) make sure that everything runs smoothly: For example, the Senate Office must ensure that the necessary committee resolutions on the advertising copy are passed on time and that the nominations for the Search Committees (i.e. 9 people per proceeding) and for the three external reviewers are available and can be addressed at the Committees’ meetings.

Nicole Rogaunig, Christine Auböck-Holzer, and Brigitte Krammer have done an incredible job and have earned our thanks. We would also like to thank the numerous other people who have made invaluable contributions to these many senior faculty selection proceedings: those in the academic departments who provided administrative assistance or served on Search Committees, the students, the external reviewers, the Equal Opportunities Committee, the Legal Affairs Office team (labor and procedural law), the Personnel Office (rexx recruiting tool), the Payroll Office (pension- and taxation-related questions), and IT-SERVICES for working hard to fulfill all the new professors’ IT requests.

And last but not least also the candidates themselves, whose interest in working at WU confirms WU’s place as an attractive employer – and of course especially the new recruits who came to work at WU and had only good things to say about the selection proceedings and the administrative support they received.

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Team of the month

Research and teaching are the key areas of a university’s work, and the most visible. However, the work of the administrative staff is also very important for making sure that a university can operate smoothly and successfully. The members of our administrative staff may not be as highly visible as our researchers, but it’s their commitment that provides our researchers and teaching staff with crucial services like a powerful IT infrastructure, state-of-the-art library services, effective support services for faculty and researchers, tailor-made in-house training programs, or personal support in running the day-to-day operations of an institute – all of this requires careful planning and organization. To bring some of these people into the spotlight, we are naming a Team of the Month 6 times a year to introduce selected members of the administrative personnel and reward them for their important achievements in specific projects.