Privatdozent

Privatdozent

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Privatdozent or Private lecturer is a title conferred in some European university systems, especially in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

-speaking countries, for someone who pursues an academic career and holds all formal qualifications (doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 and habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

) to become a tenure
Tenure
Tenure commonly refers to life tenure in a job and specifically to a senior academic's contractual right not to have his or her position terminated without just cause.-19th century:...

d university
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

. With respect to the level of academic achievement, the title compares to associate professor (North America) or something between senior lecturer
Senior lecturer
Senior lecturer is an academic rank. In the United Kingdom, lecturer is a faculty position at a university or similar institution. Especially in research-intensive universities, lecturers lead research groups and supervise research students, as well as teach...

 and reader
Reader (academic rank)
The title of Reader in the United Kingdom and some universities in the Commonwealth nations like Australia and New Zealand denotes an appointment for a senior academic with a distinguished international reputation in research or scholarship...

 (UK); however, the title is not connected to any salaried position.

Becoming


Private lectureship is conferred on academics who have earned a doctorate
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 (promotion) and then have written another thesis for habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

 and given a lecture before the respective department or faculty of a university. If they pass the vote after that lecture, they receive the venia legendi (or, rarely, venia docendi) and thus the status of P.D., roughly equivalent to the status of an associate professorship in the American educational system. This means they are able to teach at the respective institution, and may advise master and PhD theses.

Private docents can be employed by the universities as senior researchers and will be paid according to the salary levels for researchers. Private docents that did not have formal position traditionally did not receive a salary (only fees for the specific lectures or classes they taught). Even today, many private docents exist which are not paid.

Professors at a Fachhochschule
Fachhochschule
A Fachhochschule or University of Applied Sciences is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas . Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece...

(a school more focused on professional skills than research), as well as honorary professors, do not need habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

and thus were seldom private docents. The same is true for professors in the fine arts at academies or similar institutions, as well as in certain other disciplines even at universities, such as engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

.

Ceasing


As opposed to academic titles (like Dr. or Habil.), one loses the P.D. title aspect (but not the venia and the habilitation), either by being called to a professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

ship (which is the goal of the P.D. position) or by ceasing to teach. The withdrawal of the P.D., the so-called "remotion", is very rare and usually happens in case of extremely serious offenses; a famous case was Eugen Dühring
Eugen Dühring
Eugen Karl Dühring was a German philosopher and economist, a socialist who was a strong critic of Marxism.-Life and works:...

. However, during Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 times, most if not all Jewish private lecturers were remoted according to the Nuremberg Laws
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

.

Academics who stay in academe although they didn't obtain a professorship are, slightly dismissively, often called "ewige Privatdozenten" (eternal private lecturers); if they are popular, they may receive either a salaried permanent staff appointment (where those still exist) as lecturer
Lecturer
Lecturer is an academic rank. In the United Kingdom, lecturer is a position at a university or similar institution, often held by academics in their early career stages, who lead research groups and supervise research students, as well as teach...

 or equivalent, and/or the purely honorific title of "außerplanmäßiger Professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

" (abbreviated "apl. Prof.").

History and future


The institution of private lecturer started in Germany before 1800. Friedrich Karl von Savigny lectured as privat lecturer in Marburg University in 1802/1803 (Friedrich Karl von Savigny, Juristische Methodenlehre, K.F. Koeler Verlag, Stuttgart 1951, p.p. 5–7). In Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 it started around 1810, and became established only around 1860. After that, for many years, habilitation
Habilitation
Habilitation is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in several European and Asian countries. Earned after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, habilitation requires the candidate to write a professorial thesis based on independent...

 remained cumulative, i.e. it was based on already-published work, not a new monograph. The heyday of privatelectureship lasted approximately from 1900 until 1968, when hardly a university professor in a normal field was appointed who had not been a private lecturer.

During the university reforms beginning in 1968, in order to quickly broaden the professorial base for the many newly opened and expanding universities, often professors were appointed who were not private lecturers as well. This was also seen as a political act to counter the alleged inherent conservatism
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 and reactionary
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 views of the German professoriate.

The life of the private lecturer can be unsatisfactory (Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel
Georg Simmel was a major German sociologist, philosopher, and critic.Simmel was one of the first generation of German sociologists: his neo-Kantian approach laid the foundations for sociological antipositivism, asking 'What is society?' in a direct allusion to Kant's question 'What is nature?',...

 called the time "the purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 of P.D.-ship"). A private lecturer in Germany is generally highly qualified, tends to be around 40 and often has a family, and no salaried position is coupled with this academic title and status. However, the private lecturer is often holder of a paid position as Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Hochschulassistent, Hochschuldozent or Akademischer Rat; the salary of these permanent or fixed-term positions is comparable with the salary of American instructors or assistant professors. To address the "overagedness" of the German senior academic staff, there have always been reform attempts to abolish the position, and in 2002 a limited number of "junior professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

ships" were introduced which are fast-track, time-limited positions to qualify for regular professorships. Initially, this has often been seen as the "beginning of the end" of private lectureship. However, it turned out that the Habilitation is held in great esteem in the academia, and that former junior professors are eager to call themselves Privatdozent or (außerplanmäßiger) Professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

in case they did not attain a regular chair.