Turkish universities scrap assistant professor title

A series of radical changes to Turkey’s university system being brought by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the Turkish parliament include the scrapping of the assistant professor role, the abolition of the oral exam and the lowering of foreign language conditions required of academics seeking promotion to associate professor, and a greater role for universities in the hiring of staff, moderate Islamist newspaper Karar said.

The move will allow those with doctorates to be appointed directly as associate professors, cutting out an intermediate stage, the newspaper said. However, those not appointed will be “doctor teaching assistants”, which will also be the title of existing assistant professors.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the changes on Friday at a graduation ceremony at his alma mater, Marmara University.

“We will reorganise the conditions for associate professorship, God willing,” he said.

“There is a high chance that it will be sent to parliament next week. We will solve this problem in this way: there will be no assistant professorship after getting doctorates.”

The Higher Education Council will also form an Academic Career Platform to allow the matching of academics who have finished their doctorates with universities, the paper said.