, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 319–341 | Cite as

The vicissitudes of theprivatdozent: Breakdown and adaptation in the recruitment of the German university teacher

  • Alexander Busch


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  1. 1.
    Busch, A.,Die Geschichte des Privatdozenten (Stuttgart: F. Enke, 1959), p. 77.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., p. 76.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    These 3,583 include the following: (a) 668 honorary professors. They were originally scholars who, for the most part, had habilitated, but for whom no chair was available and who were, therefore, granted special distinction by this title. Nowadays honorary professors are usually persons of some prominence, for example, high executives in the chemical or electrical industries, high ranking judges, chief physicians of important hospitals, etc. They receive no salary for their lectures, only attendance fees from their audience. The honorary professorship is intended to be an honour for the person appointed and for the appointing university. (b) 781 officials and employees of the scientific services, who have not habilitated. They have been appointed for regular tasks, such as the care of collections, apparatus, etc., without any question of associating a teaching post with their appointment. They have completed their university studies but have not, or have not yet, habilitated. They are a part of the infrastructure (Mittelbau). Their monthlybasic salary begins at about DM. 900 and may rise to DM. 1,400. As officials they have permanent tenure. (c) 60 visiting professors and teachers from other universities, or from abroad, for whom a special contract is made for their period of service. (d) 1,806 authorised teachers who, as a rule, are pursuing an academic career and who do both routine teaching and supplementary teaching, in very specialised fields, and who usually have not habilitated. In the main they receive an honorarium (Vergütung) for the number of semester hours they teach; their travel expenses are also paid for. Insofar as they devote all their time to this, their honoraria can amount to DM. 600 per semester hour; insofar as they do it as an auxiliary occupation they might get as much as DM. 250 per semester hour. (e) Others, particularlyLektoren, who are appointed either on a full time or on a part time basis, mainly in language instruction. Some of them are still students and others have finished their studies and perform their duties on a full time basis. In that case, they are officials paid like other unhabilitated officials. All of these are distinguished from thePrivatdozent in the sense that, as a rule, they are not regarded as prospective incumbents of regular teaching posts, nor, for the most part, have they “habilitated”.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cousin, V.,De l'Instruction Publique dans Quelques Pays de l'Allemagne (Altona-Hammerich: J. C. Kroger, 1832/33).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Meiners, C.,Über die Verfassung und Verwaltung deutscher Universitäten (Göttingen: Röwer, 1802), p. 20.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cf. the establishment of the following institutions in Berlin: 1770 The Academy of Mines; 1790 School of Veterinary Medicine; 1795 Academy of Military Medicine (Pépinière); 1796 Academy of Arts; 1799 Academy of Architecture and Building Construction (Bauakademie); 1806 Mögelin Institute of Agriculture.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Various efforts had already been made in the course of the eighteenth century in order to cope with these difficulties. In Halle, for example, a special seminar was established to prepare qualified young people as university teachers; in Frankfurt an der Oder an attempt was made to appointdoctores legentes on a salaried basis in order to attach them to a university, but the necessary resources were lacking. In Berlin thePrivatdozent appears in the statutes for the first time, being recognised as the reservoir from which future appointments to professorial chairs would be made. They were institutionalised and confirmed as an integral component of the teaching corps of the university.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Thejus ubique docendi was originally involved in the granting of a doctor's degree. Thedoctor legens could claim the right to teach at any university and in any subject, and these possibilities were indeed utilised. The practice was to announce lectures in those subjects which promised the largest number of students, and, accordingly, the largest possible income. So it happened that there were scholars who taught in more than 50 different fields from medicine and biology through mineralogy, economics, mathematics to logic and aesthetics, the monetary system of the ancients, as well as glass-making and astronomy. (Cf. von Heister, C.,Nachrichten über Gottfried Christoph Beireis (Berlin: Nicolaische Verlagshandlung, 1860), p. 64.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    As quoted by Stoll, A.,Friedrich Karl von Savigny: Professorenjahre in Berlin 1810–1842 (Berlin: C. Heymann, 1929), p. 54.Google Scholar
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    Plessner, H., “Zur Soziologie der modernen Forschung und ihrer Organisation in der deutschen Universität,” in Scheler, Max (ed.),Versuche zu einer Soziologie des Wissens (München and Leipzig: Duncker und Humbolt, 1924). Reprinted in Plessner, H. (ed.),Untersuchungen zur Lage der deutschen Hochschullehrer, Bd. I (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1956), p. 27.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Weber, M., “Wissenschaft als Beruf”.Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck) 1951), p. 570. Reprinted inGesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck) 1951, 2nd edition), pp. 524–555. Translated into English in Gerth, H. H. and Mills, C. W. (ed.),From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1947 [48]).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ostwald, W.,Lebenslinien, Zweiter Teil (1887–1905) (Berlin: Klasing, 1927), p. 231.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cf. Felgentraeger, W., “Zum gegenwärtigen Besoldungsrecht der Hochschullerer,” inMitteilungen des Hochschulverbandes. Bd. 9 (1961), p. 152.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Eulenburg, F.,Der “akademische Nachwuchs”: Eine Untersuchung über die Lage und die Aufgaben der Extraordinarien und Privatdozenten (Berlin und Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1908).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cf. Busch, A., “Hochschullehrer und sonstiges wissenschaftliches Personal an den wissenschaftlichen Hochschulen 1960”,Wirtschaft und Statistik, Heft 7 (July, 1962), p. 403.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cf. Weber, M.,Wissenschaft als Beruf (München: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck) 1919).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Assistants are not, as such, entitled to deliver lectures but they may, in particular circumstances, be authorised to do so. The teaching activity of the assistants is limited to exercises, the supervision of laboratory and similar work, the conduct of seminars, clinical work and the practical examination of the sick, etc. The teaching rights of aPrivatdozent are not affected by his concurrent status as an assistant.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dr. Walter Perry, quoted in von Sybel, H.:Die deutschen und die auswärtigen Universitäten (Bonn: Cohen und Sohn, 1868), p. 28.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Weber, Alfred,Die Not der geistigen Arbeiter (München u. Leipzig: Duncker u. Humbolt, 1923), p. 13.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    von Ferber, C.,Die Entwicklung des Lehrkörpers der deutschen Universitäten und Hochschulen 1864–1954 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck u. Ruprecht, 1956) (Untersuchungen zur Lage der deutschen Hochschullehrer), III, p. 176.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Those who had the means could travel abroad and utilise foreign archives and sources. They could then improve their scholarly reputation by writing. They could avoid becoming schoolteachers in the mere struggle for existence and could use their time for scholarly and scientific work and making the results available for publication. The number and bulk of publications of a scholar were, and still are, the criterion of scientific and scholarly achievement.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    “For a professorship I would crawl on my knees through the whole of Germany.” Quoted by Willstätter, R. in Stoll, A. (ed.),Aus meinem Leben (Basel: Verlag Chemie, 1949), p. 62.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    In the middle of the nineteenth century the average age for taking the doctorate for those who later became professors was 23, while their professorial appointment came at 35. One hundred years later (1950) the average age at which the doctorate was taken was 26·8, while the professorial appointment came at 45·4 years of age. The waiting period had been extended by seven years. Busch, A.,Die Geschichte der Privatdozenten (Stuttgart: F. Enke, 1959), p. 46.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    In Prussia and Bavaria, the two largest states, the remuneration was fixed by law.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Boekelmann, P.,Aufgaben und Aussichten der Hochschulreform (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck u. Ruprecht, 1962), p. 57.Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Cf. Minerva, I (Autumn, 1962), 1, p. 94et seq.Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    Empfehlungen des Wissenschaftsrates zum Ausbau der wissenschaftlichen Einrichtungen, Teil 1 (Bonn: Bundesdruckerei, 1960), p. 63et seq.Google Scholar
  28. 26.
    Busch, A., “Hochschullehrer und sonstiges wissenschaftliches Personal an den wissenschaftliches Hochschulen 1960”, inWirtschaft und Statistik, Heft 7 (July, 1962), p. 403.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Thieme, W.,Deutsches Hochschulrecht (Berlin-Köln: Carl Heymann, 1956), p. 281et seq.Google Scholar

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© Minerva 1963

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  • Alexander Busch

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