Saturday, 1 March 2008

Who is who in universities

The main goal of this post is to give a high level description of ranks in universities (academic world) - in other words: who is stronger Seniour researcher or Assistant Professor :)

There are two parallel structures: one for teachers and one for researchers. By the way researcher are normally seen as an activity that should be done outside of university scope since the primary goal of any university is teaching students. Normally researchers are done mainly in labs although teachers do also a lot of research.
The main question here is financing. Theoretically researchers should be financed only via grands, while teaching is done after getting a job in university for money tha are collected either from students or government.

The high level of hierarchy can be described as (from lowest to highest):
  • Teaching:
    • Assistant (lecturer)
    • Lecturer
    • Associated (Assistant) Professor [in bigger universities those are different positions]
    • Professor

  • Researching (position here corresponds to the teaching one)
    • Juniour researcher
    • Researcher
    • Seniour researcher

Each level requires a certain degree obtain from an university. Those degrees are well known - bachelor, master of science, doctor of philosophy (PhD) (notice that there are two doctor degrees in some countries).
For example the doctor degree is required to be promoted to the seniour research position / assistant professor and higher. Obviously it is possible to pretend for a lower position having higher education level, but a rule of thumbs is the higher degree you get the high position you will be promoted to, although it depends on open position in universities.
The master degree is required to become a researcher or lector.

It is possible to find more details from wikipedia. for example by searching a definition for professor. Notice that the hierarchy greatly varies from country to country and can include much more positions, but earlier listed key position will still be there.

I think everyone would like to obtain the professor position (or at least the status :), so talking about that one we should mention that

- in some countries people are hired to that position and hold this rank for a certain time (normally 5 years) until a new competition among this position seeker is open

- in some countries it is a lifetime appointment until retirement after which they got an emeritus prefix.

The emeritus prefix can be added to many other ranks as well.

PS: Do you know that Adjunct rank means a part-time position normally for those who are working outside this academic institution.

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