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Encyclopedia > Lecturer

Lecturer is a term of academic rank. In most of the English-speaking world, lecturer is the name given to university teachers in their first permanent university position. That is, lecturers are academics early in their careers, who lead research groups and supervise postgraduate students as well as lecture courses. However, in the U.S., Canada, and other countries influenced by their educational systems, the term is used differently. Academic organizations typically have a rather rigid set of ranks. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ... A graduate school or grad school is a school that awards advanced degrees, with the general requirement that students must have earned an undergraduate (bachelors) degree. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from...


United Kingdom

Lecturers in the UK hold permanent positions in a university which involve carrying out both teaching and research. The term was originally used in contrast to Professor, which was an extremely prestigious and high ranking position typically held by only one or a very few in a department, and Readers. Neither position traditionally required any teaching, although normally professors or readers would do so at least occasionally by choice. Because there was no promotion path for lecturers who did not excel at research, the position Senior Lecturer has more recently been developed. In the academic hierarchy in the United Kingdom and some universities in Australia and New Zealand, Reader is the rank between senior lecturer (or principal lecturer in the New Universities) and professor. ...

Currently in most universities in the UK all of these positions require teaching. However, a professor is still the most prestigious and highly paid position, and is normally achieved as a promotion after a readership. The promotion to reader requires external letters of recommendation (as does a professor, similar to US tenure), a strong publication record and (often) a strong record of gaining research funding. A senior lectureship is theoretically equivalent to a readership and demands the same salary, but may reflect prowess in teaching or administration rather than research, and is far less likely to lead directly to promotion to professor. Look up tenure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

"New" British universities (that is, universities that were until recently termed polytechnics) have a slightly different naming scheme than that just described, which can confuse naive or foreign academics looking for positions (see table.) Also, some established universities have recently began using somewhat more American terminology (see note on table.) Further, the oldest and most prestigious universities (e.g. Oxford and Cambridge) have more arcane arrangements. At Oxford in particular, lecturing is heavy teaching position, while most people who will eventually acquire the more senior academic ranks come into the university initially as research fellows, not lecturers. In the United Kingdom, the term New University has two meanings regarding British universities. ... The term polytechnic, from the Greek πολύ polú meaning many and τεχνικός tekhnikós meaning arts, is commonly used in many countries to describe an institution that delivers technical education, other countries do not use the term and use alternative... The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford in England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... The University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, with one of the most selective sets of entry requirements in the United Kingdom. ...

Roughly equivalent academic positions as determined by prestige.
UK University UK "New" University US University or College
Lecturer (A) Lecturer Assistant Professor
Lecturer (B) Senior Lecturer
Senior Lecturer Principal Lecturer (pre-tenure) Associate Professor
Reader[1] Reader Associate Professor (with tenure)
Professor Professor Full Professor (with a chair)

The UK has largely given up the tenure system. This means on the one hand that lecturers have permanent positions as soon as they pass a probation (which normally requires no more than three years and is much less arduous than tenure), but on the other that a University can decide to make an entire department redundant(e.g Exeter University 1990 and 2005), laying off even senior academic staff such as professors. Because there is no tenure bottleneck, UK academics can spend their entire careers in the lower tiers of the academic hierarchy. Look up tenure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up tenure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In UK employment law, redundancy is the dismissal of an employee when his or her job becomes unnecessary. ...

Most lecturers in the UK have a doctorate (Ph.D., Ed.D etc.). In many fields this is now a prerequisite of the job, though historically this was not the case --- even senior academic positions such as readerships could be held on the basis of research merit alone without formal doctoral qualification.

In the UK, before a candidate is appointed to a lectureship, it is generally required that the candidate spend at least a term as a postdoctoral researcher, a position that carries a low salary but is a requirement to learn the ropes and to establish new research paths following a Ph.D. specialisation. A postdoctoral appointment (colloquially, a post-doc) is a temporary research position held by a person who has completed his or her doctoral studies. ... Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. ...

Non-academic usage

Several churches in the UK have clergy with the ancient title Lecturer including St. Mary's Church, Nottingham and Carlisle Cathedral. St Marys Church, Nottingham The Church of St Mary the Virgin is the oldest religious foundation in the City of Nottingham, England, and is also the largest church after the Roman Catholic Cathedral. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...

Australia and New Zealand

Australian and New Zealand (Aotearoa) university models are based on the United Kingdom (primarily English and Scottish) model. Their approach to promotion policies and rank are an obvious case in point. One difference however is their use of the North American "associate professor" role, which in this context is equivalent to the British reader role, not the North American senior lecturer. It is thus a more senior position than a North American associate professor. Some universities use associate professor and reader, while others use associate professor alone; few now use reader alone. The use of the associate professor title is unfortunately highly misleading for academics familiar with the North American university system as it suggests a role that has a different meaning in their setting. Look up Aotearoa in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A professor is a senior teacher and researcher, usually in a college or university. ... In the academic hierarchy in the United Kingdom and some universities in Australia and New Zealand, Reader is the rank between senior lecturer (or principal lecturer in the New Universities) and professor. ...

United States and Canada

Some American universities have Lecturers whose responsibility is only undergraduate education, especially for introductory/survey courses that attract large groups of students. In contrast, U.S. professors have permanent or tenure-track positions which include responsibility for research. The most common US terminology for these non-tenure track academic positions is "Instructor," or "Adjunct Professor". However, this non-British usage of the term "lecturer" is increasingly coming in to use (e.g. at Harvard, Stanford and MIT), creating confusion on the term's meaning. Many US lecturers or adjuncts are themselves graduate students and may be taking courses and working towards Ph. D. dissertation. Some have already completed the Ph. D. but do not yet have a tenured position as a professor. A full-time lecturing position in North America (in contrast to part-time adjuncts performed during a PhD) usually involves courses with heavy teaching and/or marking loads and does not normally allow for time to do research. Such positions are also not normally permanent and therefore do not allow for hiring or formally advising other research group members or graduate students. Look up tenure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a member of the Ivy League. ... Stanford may refer: Stanford University Places: Stanford, Kentucky Stanford, California, home of Stanford University Stanford Shopping Center Stanford, New York, town in Dutchess County. ... Mapúa Institute of Technology (MIT, MapúaTech or simply Mapúa) is a private, non-sectarian, Filipino tertiary institute located in Intramuros, Manila. ...

Academics desiring a position as junior faculty might choose to first work as lecturers in order to secure the teaching experience required to qualify them for a tenure-track position. The position is generally less prestigious than the entry-level assistant professorship (which is the equivalent of a UK lecturer). The salary is considerably lower than a US professorship, and tenure is generally impossible. US lecturing may not require a doctoral degree, depending on the university (see the article, "professor"), though a Master's degree (or at least 18 hours of graduate level work in a particular field) usually is required. The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ...

Many US universities are currently hiring more part-time and full-time lecturers to replace full professors who die or retire. Using lecturers to teach an increasing number of courses is viewed as a cost-saving measure by some university administrations, or as a means of reducing teaching load on professors so they can concentrate on research and fund raising. Many of these positions are being sponsored by regional studies programs for the purpose of training and specialization on a particular region[citation needed].

It should be noted, however, that the title is sometimes, paradoxically, used in just the opposite sense: in some institutions, a "lecturer" is actually a higher rank than full professor, a sort of "grand old man" of the college or university: Amherst College, for instance, long listed Henry Steele Commager as "lecturer," the only one in the college, placing him in a symbolic position of seniormost member of the faculty. Amherst College is a private, independent, elite[1][2] liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA. It is the third oldest college in Massachusetts. ... Henry Steele Commager (October 25, 1902 - March 2, 1998) was a noted American historian who wrote (or edited) over forty books and over 700 journalistic essays and reviews, and taught at New York University, Columbia, and Amherst College. ...

In some schools "lecturer" is a temporary post for visiting academic celebrities -- a famous writer may be made a "lecturer" for a term or a year, for instance, teaching a course and leading a lecture series, without regard to their academic degrees.

Thus, the sequence from juniormost to seniormost teaching faculty position in most US universities and colleges is:

  • teaching assistant (a graduate student)
  • instructor (usually a newly-minted Ph. D.; no tenure)
  • adjunct professor (a part-time, untenured post; often holds a doctorate but not always)
  • assistant professor (except for medical schools, usually a full-time post; doctorate necessary)
  • associate professor (a full-time post, usually with tenure)
  • professor ("full professor" -- only a few, usually, in each department)
  • "chaired professor" (a professor who holds a named, sometimes endowed, chair, as the "John Smith Professor of Economics" -- a step up in prestige from a "simple" full professor; sometimes called "distinguished professor" or "university professor")

with the term "lecturer" very flexible in its meaning and usage. A teaching assistant (TA) is a junior scholar employed on a temporary contract by a college or university for the purpose of assisting a professor by teaching students in recitation or discussion sessions, holding office hours, grading homework or exams, supervising labs (in science and engineering courses), and sometimes teaching... In education, teachers are those who teach students or pupils, often a course of study, lesson plan, or a practical skill, including learning and thinking skills. ... A professor is a senior teacher and researcher, usually in a college or university. ... A professor is a senior teacher and researcher, usually in a college or university. ... A professor is a senior teacher and researcher, usually in a college or university. ... The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ...

Germany, Austria, Switzerland

Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, have a kind of lecturer (in the US sense) in the Privatdozent. Privatdozent or PD is a purely academic title that gives the holder the right to teach at the university but is not necessarily linked to a function in a university department. Traditionally, PDs, like the US but unlike the UK lecturer, do not lead their own research groups. However, in Switzerland and Germany, now many PDs do have permanent full-time appointments at universities and lead independent research groups. The teaching by PDs is normally paid with lecture fees, generating an additional income. Privatdozent (PD or Priv. ... Privatdozent (PD or Priv. ...

Other countries

In other countries, usage of lecturer may vary unpredictably. For example, in Indonesia, the term lektor is used for five different fairly senior research and teaching positions approximately equivalent to the US associate professor, while in Poland lektor is a term used for a teaching-only position, generally for teaching foreign languages. In France, the term lecteur is the name of the lower category of teaching in university and other higher-level education structures, mostly in literary and foreign languages courses. Samuel Beckett's first job in Paris was as lecteur of English at the École Normale Supérieure. Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish dramatist, novelist and poet. ... See also École Normale de Musique de Paris. ...

For an explanation of terms other than lecturer used in academia, see the article on academic rank. Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ... Academic organizations typically have a rather rigid set of ranks. ...

See also

Academic organizations typically have a rather rigid set of ranks. ... The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ...


  1. ^ As of 2006, a few British Universities are beginning to use the title Associate Professor instead of Reader in current job advertising. Warwick was the first to do so, and Exeter and Nottingham have followed.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Lecturer Track (1287 words)
Senior Lecturers are expected to demonstrate exceptional mastery in teaching with a substantial impact on the university's educational mission.
During the terms of their appointments, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers and Principal Lecturers are subject to, and protected by, the same university policies concerning academic freedom and dismissal for cause (but not concerning reappointments) as are regular but untenured faculty members.
In each college and school, appointments in the Lecturer Track shall not be made before the date of the approval of the provost of that college's or school's policy specifying criteria and procedures regarding such appointments, as required by the provisions of this policy.
Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Academic Promotions Board - Lecturer Advancements (1354 words)
For each lecturer who will reach the date of contractual completion of probation by 31 December, a positive or negative recommendation about completion of probation with reasons should be submitted to the Autumn Board.
Temporary lecturers with a contract of more than one year should be treated as if on probation.
It will be the normal expectation that a lecturer reaching a maximum of Grade A should be advanced to Grade B. Although such advancement is not on the basis of competitive merit, a positive recommendation is required based on academic attainment and ability and on a satisfactory standard of work.
  More results at FactBites »



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