Germany: His Majesty, the Professor
German newsweekly Der Spiegel reports in its online edition that the association of professors, Deutscher Hochschulverband, passed a resolution, calling for a return to traditional values of German academic life. Namely, according to Der Spiegel, the paper calls for so called Forschungssemseter, semesters during which professors usually concentrate on research projects without any teaching obligation.
Also, the paper rejects proposals by Deutscher Wissenschaftsrat, a panel of government consultants on reform of the German university system, to employ more so called lecturers, academics exclusively concentrated on teaching. Instead, DHV's paper calls for the employment of more professors and a curbing of obligations to teach.
DHV's position falls neatly in line with the current condition of the German university system. From the perspective of students, many professors have been virtually inaccessible with long waiting list and a maximum average availability for personal conversation of between 15 and 20 minutes per student and semester. While tuition fees have been introduced to many German universities over the last 10 years as part of a new à la mode drift towards introducing market mechanisms to the public sector, study conditions have steadily deteriorated over the last years.
As many universities have degraded in their architectural substance, libraries are chronically underfunded, and for law students it has been a tradition for years to attend so called "Repititorium", private courses often held in backrooms of pubs, held by active lawyers at horrendous fees to enable affluent students to be in control of the curriculum for exams - a task which the gerontocratic German university system has long since given up on achieving.
Read German article in Der Spiegel