Discussion with the Minister of Science and Education Theresia Bauer on the new university state law (Landeshochschulgesetz)
At a meeting with representatives of the doctoral students/researches of many universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg on 8 December, the Minister of Science Theresia Bauer presented the latest draft of the new university state law (LHG). It will be decided upon in the parlament of Baden-Württemberg in March 2018 and is supposed to be implemented in April 2019.
The most important change will be the introduction of a new status group for doctoral students/researchers. After confronting the Ministry with the opinions and wishes from the Doctoral Students Conventions, The Ministry of Science chose a pragmatic solution for the implementation: Doctoral students/researchers are to form a new subgroup of university students. Thus, there will be no financial or administrative disadvantages in consequence of the new status. Apart from other benefits, using the services of the Studierendenwerk and visa for international doctoral students/researchers will remain possible. Moreover, it will now be possible to negotiate with health insurances about cheaper fees for doctoral students/researchers.
The new LHG is supposed to fundamentally change the structure of the university senate. The number of members by office will be reduced. This allows to raise the share of seats for non-professorial groups to 40%. Thus, there will be no losses for the other non-professorial status groups.
Minster Theresia Bauer underlined in her speech the responsibility of universities for good conditions during the doctorate. She also made clear that the doctoral students/researchers are taking on a great responsibility and are delivering a fundamentally important work at universities. She also affirmed that she perceives the doctorate not as a part of education but as the first stage of independent scientific working.
We are happy to see that your and our efforts have not been in vain! Through our input the changes in the law did not come at the cost of the doctoral students/researchers. We will keep you informed about further developments in the process of the implementation of the law.