According to spokesperson Jochem van Laar, the university’s main reason for taking this step is that EUR actually differs from other institutions in how it uses endowed professorships. At Erasmus University, an endowed chair serves as a kind of precursor for a regular professorship. And in many cases, these appointments are linked to EUR’s careers policy: the university can retain scientists by offering them an endowed chair. Most other universities don’t use the title in this way. Nor does it have much currency internationally, making it difficult to explain to foreign colleagues.
After being promoted to regular professor, most former endowed professors will once again be offered a temporary position with a maximum term of five years. In the past, regular professors were always offered a permanent contract. Should the newly-appointed professor’s performance prove unsatisfactory, he or she will be relegated back to associate professorship at the end of this five-year term. In other words, not that much will be changing for these professors in practice – apart from their title, that is.
One fell swoop
Something that will change is the total of women professors at EUR, since endowed professors aren’t included in this tally. At present, the university has a relatively large number of female endowed professors. For example, Rotterdam School of Management has 4 female endowed professors – compared to 18 male ones. Significantly higher than the share of regular women professors: two out of 37. The measure will also substantially boost the number of women professors at Erasmus School of Economics: from 2 to 5. In one fell swoop, Erasmus University almost makes the quota of 20 percent women professors by 2020.
Incidentally, this change of policy only applies to the temporary position of endowed professor in a career context, which usually involves a term of four or eight years. There are three other types of endowed professors walking around campus: the endowed professor with a networking function, the endowed professor involved in the development of a field and the endowed professor appointed by an idealistic organisation. The other three categories will not be affected by this change.
Van Laar estimates the measure will apply to approximately 50 of the total of 188 professors. The faculties have been given four years to phase out this position, but the university expects to round off the transition over the course of next year.