Starting October 1, 2014 there is a new regulatory framework for the function of teaching assistants (praktijkassistenten). These functions can be carried out by means of a temporary appointment as a teaching assistant, or in the form of a permanent appointment as a member of the administrative and technical personnel (as onderwijsbegeleider or “educational supervisor”). Moreover, there are new rules for the temporary appointment of teaching assistants.
A) Appointment as teaching assistant (assisting academic personnel)
Individuals must, on the basis of their other professional activities and/or demonstrable experience, make a notable contribution to the quality of the education in terms of its practical content.
Those thus eligible:
- people from another profession who can make a contribution to practical training. Their practical expertise can come from their professional life, as well as from activities in the public service sector, by being, for example, a part time assistant at Ghent University or as a college teacher
- teachers in secondary education, for appointments guiding students in the first year. These teaching assistants function as such a bridge between secondary education and the first bachelor
- persons who are native speakers, and who undertake other professional activities from which they have derived demonstrable teaching skills in language subjects show
- people with proven experience in qualitative and didactic methods who are thus able to contribute to the requisite teaching tasks
These conditions are in no way changed from the situation as it stood prior to October 1, 2014, apart from the clarification that the practical expertise can come from professional life in general.
A teaching assistant
- can only be charged with tasks relating to practical education (including coordinating tasks within the assignment)
- can not be designated the primary lecturer or associate lecturer for a course
- may not give lectures
- may not supervise master’s theses, unless the master’s thesis has a practical component in which the co-supervision of the teaching assistant constitutes added value
- can not take part in a research project
From October 1, 2014, there is a limit of 30% on all new appointments to the position of teaching assistant. This is an accumulated percentage. The means that all of an individual’s appointments as a teaching assistant at UGent can not, in combination with one another, equal more than 30%. There are a few exceptions to this rule.
Extraordinary appoints of more than 30% are only possible
- in the form of an increase for a period of 1 year maximum to 60% if another teaching assistant leaves his or her position and an immediate replacement cannot be found. This increase can only occur if the teaching assistant in question agrees to it.
- in the form of a one-time appointment for more than 30% within the context of a necessary, innovative education project, and then for a period of 1 year minimum, 3 years max. Such an appointment cannot be extended.
Please note: for the re-appointment of extant teaching assistants, there are transitional measures (for more information see “Transitional measures for teaching assistants with appointments made prior to October 1, 2014” below).
Length of the appointment and possibility of renewal
For the appointment of teaching assistants at a maximum of 30%, this can be renewed an unlimited number of times, each for a minimum of 1 year, and for a maximum of 5 years.
Exception: when a teaching assistant is less than 1 year from the legal retirement age, than the appointment will last until the end of the month in which the teaching assistant reaches this age.
For an exceptional appointment of more than 30% there are specific rules, as already mentioned above.
The socio-legal statute of these temporarily appointed teaching assistants is as described in the summary of ACOD’s information session for teaching assistants, which may be found on our website at: http://acod.ugent.be//node/312.
B) Transitional measures for teaching assistants with appointments made prior to October 1, 2014
Appointments to the position of teaching assistant made prior to October 1, 2014, continue unchanged until their stipulated end of term.
Appointments that began prior to October 1, 2014, for a percentage of more than 30%, may be renewed once at the end of their term for the same percentage. The term of this renewal will expire on 30 September 2016, at the latest. After that, if this position is to be maintained, a new vacancy must be declared open. This vacancy must be for either a permanent position as an educational supervisor in the ATP, or a renewable temporary appointment as a teaching assistant. The latter must comply with all of the new conditions, including the maximum employment percentage of 30%.
C) Permanent appointment as an educational supervisor (administrative and technical personnel)
What is it?
A statutory, part-time (at least 10%) or full-time member of the administrative and technical staff (ATP) who is responsible solely for practical education (including coordinating tasks within that assignment) will be called an educational supervisor.
The conditions for obtaining a permanent appointment as an educational supervisor are as follows:
- To qualify for the position of educational supervisor, the individual must meet the same conditions that apply to the teaching assistant’s position (see above).
- In its personnel planning, the faculty should make provisions for the appointment of such an ATP position for an educational supervisor. The faculty is hereby required to adequately indicate and justify the structural nature of this position.
- A vacancy should be declared open, for which anyone can apply provided that they meet the conditions as outlined in the job description. There is a single exception to mandatory advertisement (see below under "Recruitment"). The candidate who is selected for the position can begin the probationary period prior to their permanent appointment as an educational supervisor.
The different steps in a recruitment procedure are:
- The faculty should request the public declaration of a vacancy for a position as a part-time (at least 10%) or full-time permanently appointed ATP member (educational supervisor), provided that this position has been included in its personnel planning. Anyone who meets the requirements may apply.
- Notwithstanding the usual selection for ATP members, candidates for a vacancy for an educational supervisor ATP position dedicated solely to practical education do not have to undergo selection tests via an external recruitment agency.
- When the application deadline has passed, those submitted will be reviewed by a special selection committee on the basis of a competitive selection process.
Composition of the Selection Committee
The selection committee consists of:
- A number of representatives from the department/faculty where the vacancy was declared open
- At least one member from another faculty or from central administration
- At least one (also voting) member of the Department of Personnel and Organization (DPO)
- In addition, another employee of the DPO will attend meetings of the selection committee in an advisory capacity. This colleague will serve as the selection committee’s secretary, and pay particular attention to the objectivity of the final selection
The following rules also apply:
- At least one additional faculty member and at least one (also entitled to vote) DPO member must be present during the final selection
- The selection committee may be, at most, 2/3 male or female
- The composition of the selection committee must receive prior approved from the academic administrator
The selection process itself consists of:
- if deemed necessary, pre-selection by the selection committee on the basis of the submitted applications
- at the very least, verification of the didactic and pedagogical skills (possibly preselected) candidates
No recruitment pool
Notwithstanding the recruitment procedure for other ATP positions, those shortlisted by the selection committee, but who are ultimately not selected as an education supervisor, do not get placed in a recruitment pool. This is understandable because of the often quite specific nature of the teaching tasks. It is also not important seeing as how there are no external agencies that conduct tests for this type of function.
There is an exception for teaching assistants with an appointment of at least 70%, who had already been appointed as such for at least five years as of October 1, 2013
Teaching assistants with an appointment of at least 70% who already held that position for at least five years as of October 1, 2013, may, with the consent of those concerned, be reclassified as a permanently appointed ATP member in function class A without the public declaration of a vacancy.
If a teaching assistant …
- meets the specified requirements
- and has been appointed to this position for 10 years or more
- and has not received adverse evaluations
- and the faculty still does not wish to hire this person as a permanently appointed ATP member
… then the faculty can not publicly declare the position vacant, either as a temporary teaching assistant position, or as a permanently appointed ATP position (education supervisor)
Notwithstanding the usual probationary period for ATP members of six months, ATP members tasked solely with practical education must serve a probationary period of 12 months. The argument for the longer probationary period is that the member’s educational tasks may be spread over both the first and the second semesters of the academic year, and their performance should be assessed in its entirety.
Following a positive assessment at the end of this probationary period, the member will be permanently appointed.
An ATP member tasked solely with practical education will be categorized in function class A. Within this classification, experience gained, trajectory of profession, and the skills acquired will be taken into account, either in whole or in part, when determining grade and salary. Financial seniority will cover at least the period of past work experience (expressed in years and full calendar months).
The grades and pay scales pertaining to an ATP member in function class A can be retrieved via the following link:
More specifically, these concern the ATP scales 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 9.1, and 9.2.
Please note: those classified as a permanently appointed ATP member on the basis of the exception for teaching assistants with an appointment of at least 70% who had been in the position for at least five years as of October 1, 2013, retain their financial seniority and will receive a minimal annual salary in a pay scale linked to function class A that is equal to or greater than the salary he or she received during their previous employment as a teaching assistant.
The specific exemptions and regulations applicable to education supervisors are all included in this document. Otherwise, as an education supervisor you have the same rights and obligations that apply to all members of the permanently appointed administrative and technical staff. This means that you:
- ... will be permanently appointed following your probationary period. This means you no longer run the risk of your faculty changing its priorities at a later time and firing you.
- ... after four years, will automatically be promoted to a higher pay scale within function class A (e.g. from pay scale 9.1 to pay scale 9.2), provided that you receive favorable biennial evaluations.
- ... can apply for internal vacancies at UGent that result in (voluntary) transfer to another function within the higher function class A+
- ... after 4 years in function class A, can apply for internal vacancies at UGent that result in promotion to another position within the higher function class A+
- ... have the same vacation options as other members of the permanently appointed administrative and technical staff, as stipulated in the following regulations: https://www.ugent.be/intranet/nl/reglementen/werken/personeel/atp/bcverlof.htm (in Dutch)
- ... the same leave of absence opportunities as other members of the permanently appointed administrative and technical staff, as stipulated in the following regulations: https://www.ugent.be/intranet/nl/reglementen/werken/personeel/atp/loopbaanstat.pdf (in Dutch)
- ... after 4 years in your job class, provided you meet certain conditions, a function reclassification may be possible. Such a function reclassification can be requested and granted when the tasks associated with your position have undergone a major change, such that your function now belongs in the higher A+ class. In order to apply for such a function reclassification, you must obtain a favorable report formed on the basis of a series of external tests, and your last two periodic evaluations must be positive. In addition, your supervisor must write an internal report in favour of granting the requested function reclassification. The application will then assessed by a committee designated specifically for function reclassification.
Please note: practical education tasks are still categorized in function class A. Thus they can never be used in an argument in favour of reclassification to function class A+. At the same time, it is also theoretically not possible for your assignments to be modified to such a degree that your position actually becomes more arduous than what is allowed within the limits of function class A.
- ... are entitled to a government pension (at career fraction 1/60) for the period served as a member of the permanently appointed administrative and technical staff. Moreover, your years as a teaching assistant are also taken into account when determining your government pension, and at a career fraction of 1/55. If your appointment rate is smaller than the percentage you had employment as a teaching assistant, then your years as a teaching assistant only count at the same fraction towards your state pension.
Prior to October 1, 2014, the "cost" in terms of personnel points for a teaching assistant amounted to 1 point, whereas for an ATP member in function class A1 this was fixed 1 point.
On September 16, 2014, the Governing Council decided that the cost of a teaching assistant from October 1, 2014 onwards, however, was officially equivalent to that of an ATP in function class A, which means that 1 point would be charged for each of the two positions.
Thus it is not the case that permanently appointed ATP position as an educational supervisor in function in class A costs more in personnel points than that of a temporary appointment as a teaching assistant. Therefore, the “cost” in personnel points is not a valid reason for a faculty to refuse to create a permanent ATP position!
Do not hesitate to contact us via ACOD@UGent.be if you have questions about the statutes or regulations pertaining to the teaching assistant education supervisor positions.