On what basis do university professors evaluate

Tasks, rights and obligations of professors

Tasks, rights and obligations of professors

The following information relates exclusively to the active service of professors. The essential rights and obligations of professors at universities are outlined in an overview based on the existing case law.

1. Freedom of research

Teachers initially have the freedom to research, as guaranteed in Article 5 (3) of the Basic Law (GG). The federal states and their universities have to ensure that the lecturers can do research at all (see also "Equipment" and the time limit of the commitments hlb-Info sheet "Equipment commitments").

What exactly does “freedom of research” mean? Information on this can be found in the respective initial regulations of the state university laws (LHG):

"The freedom of research includes the question itself, the principles of the methodology and the evaluation of the research result as well as its dissemination."

As far as the methodology is concerned, the teacher is free to develop and apply his own methodology. With regard to the dissemination of the research results, the teacher is allowed to disseminate his research results - but he is just as free not to do so. This basically excludes the state or university from taking possession of the research result (inventions according to the law on employee inventions (ArbNErfG) can be an exception - see our separate information sheet). (e.g. § 3 Paragraph 1 Clause 2 LHG Baden-Württemberg)

In the context of research, the teacher should focus on his own research areas, so he is also obliged to represent his subject. However, he can also conduct research outside his field of expertise (cf. VGH Kassel, decision of April 12, 1984, Az. 6 TG 5049/83, juris).

2. Obligation to hold courses and hold examinations

Under "Teaching obligation" (see hlb-Info sheet "Teaching Obligation") is to be understood as the obligation to perform teaching tasks of professors at universities of applied sciences. The lecturers have to fulfill a certain number of hours of teaching (semester hours per week SWS). The prescribed scope of official duties in the field of teaching is defined by the respective LHG and the teaching obligation ordinance that is regularly issued on its basis. According to this, the teaching obligation of a professor at a university of applied sciences is regularly 18 teaching hours (unless the lecturer is granted, for example, a research semester or discounts for specific research and development projects in the semester itself).

If the lecturer refuses to fulfill the lecture obligations for his subject, he commits an official offense, which, according to case law, can ultimately lead to a reduction in salary. In doing so, he violates the obligation to implement the resolutions of the bodies of the university of applied sciences and the departments to ensure the provision of courses within the framework of the regulations applicable to his employment relationship and at the same time remains absent from the service without approval (BVerwG, decision of 11 May 2000 Az. 1 DB 35/99, NVwZ-RR 2001, 251). The obligation to teach includes not only the design of the teaching, but also its planning and announcement. The professor is also obliged by his main office to participate in the training of the students and to hold examinations.

3. Basically: freedom of instruction

In fulfilling their main office, university lecturers are generally authorized to act without instructions. This applies both in terms of content - in relation to your respective subject - and organizationally. In principle, the teachers organize themselves and their teaching. The dean does not have the right to issue instructions in this regard. He is not a supervisor, but a colleague from his own department. The dean's right to issue instructions is only provided in the various federal states with regard to the fact that professors properly fulfill their teaching and examination obligations (see separate overview in hlb-Members area). If this is not the case, the dean can and must intervene.

The supervisor, the president or the rector, however, can theoretically give instructions which, provided that they are legal, must be followed. Especially when such an instruction does not affect the teacher's personal legal sphere, but rather the competence assigned to him by the state (e.g. taking examinations), the teacher's freedom of teaching will often not be violated. Namely, he acts as an “extended arm” for the state. For example, the Federal Administrative Court decided that the decision of the University of Applied Sciences administration, with which it granted a student a subsequent hindrance from examinations for important reasons despite having already taken an examination, did not affect the examination activities of the respective university teacher (BVerwG, decision of August 18, 1997, Az / 97, juris).

4. Change of (official) duties

Changes that affect the official area of ​​responsibility of the lecturer and not the core area of ​​his office - these should primarily be organizational measures - can, according to case law, be made at the dutiful discretion of the employer without the consent of the lecturer. That could be the outsourcing of a professorship from an institute. In the case of such implementations, which usually do not constitute an administrative act, the employer is granted extensive discretion (BVerwG, judgment of January 24, 1991, Az. 2 C 16/98, juris).

The lecturer has no right to the university maintaining the focus of activity once it has been set up unchanged (VGH Kassel, decision of May 30, 1997, Az. 6 TG 1447/97, ​​juris). In the university laws, the definition of tasks is regularly subject to a review at appropriate intervals.

5. Right to (basic) equipment

Furthermore, the lecturer is entitled to equipment that enables him to take up his position. The basic equipment should enable the lecturer to be able to work scientifically at all. What exactly is “basic equipment” depends on the position and the description of the function. Under Article 5, Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law, the university professor is only entitled to participate in existing facilities and in the funds available within the framework of the university budget. If the equipment is not suitable or insufficient, there is no entitlement to further budget funds being made available. It is therefore only a matter of a right to “minimum equipment” (e.g. OVG Münster, decision of February 23, 2016, Az. 15 B 104/16).

A line must be drawn where scientific work becomes completely impossible due to a lack of equipment. The equipment can be the subject of appointment negotiations.

Non-granting of equipment or its withdrawal: If the equipment is the subject of an appointment agreement or promise of appointment, which is not due to the availability of budget funds, it is generally not permitted to deviate from this. Only if the circumstances have subsequently changed significantly can the university withdraw from a commitment to provide equipment or if, as is now customary, the legally stipulated time lapse has taken place (cf. hlb-Info sheet "Equipment commitments").

Since the university is obliged to provide the funds required for teaching, it can in principle also dispose of these items and manage them. If this contradicts the academic freedom of a lecturer, it must be weighed up which asset is to be given priority in the individual case (administration and right of disposal of the university versus academic freedom and the lecturer's right to participate as a result, cf.VGH Munich, decision of August 27, 1999, case no. 7 ZE 99.1921, 7 ZE 99.2088, juris).

6. Right to outside employment

Furthermore, the lecturers are entitled to carry out activities in the private sector free of charge or for a fee. The existing regulations in this regard can be found in parts of the respective state civil servant laws and in the specific provisions of the secondary employment ordinances and university secondary employment ordinances.

While the main office represents the specific area of ​​responsibility of the teacher, a secondary activity is understood to be the perception of a secondary activityoffice (Tasks in addition to the specific range of tasks, but also in the public service) or a sideemployment. Secondary employment therefore means performing tasks outside of the main office in the specific functional sense (Saxon OVG, decision of January 28, 2013, Az. 2 A 358/10, juris).

Basically, a distinction must be made between secondary activities that require approval, generally previously approved secondary activities (no application for approval required) and secondary activities that do not require approval. In the case of generally approved secondary activities and secondary activities that do not require authorization, the respective secondary activity of the university is generally only to be reported, i. H. the university must be informed about this.

From the scheme outlined - subdivision of secondary activities into licensing, generally licensed and licensing-free secondary activities, the latter two only need to be informed (that is, they must be "displayed") - in Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, deviated in Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein. These federal states are based on the federal regulation of § 40 sentence 1 BeamtStG. In § 40 BeamtStG it says:

“Secondary employment is generally notifiable. It is to be made subject to the reservation of permission or prohibition, insofar as it is likely to impair business interests. "

§ 40 sentence 1 BeamtStG does not stipulate that secondary activities must be subject to approval - therefore the federal states just listed have failed to stipulate a corresponding reservation of permission and remain with a basic, pure notification obligation according to § 40 sentence 1 BeamtStG. More on this in hlb-Information sheet "Performing a secondary activity".

7. Commitment to trustworthy behavior

After all, university professors have a duty to behave in a respectable and trustworthy manner. Cases have become known in the case law in which a completely inappropriate choice of words led to disciplinary measures against the university professor (OVG Koblenz, judgment of March 25, 1999, Az. 3 A 12863/98, juris).

As of: 08/26/2020


This information has been compiled to the best of our knowledge and belief. However, we must ask for your understanding that the hlb cannot accept any liability and must free itself from liability.