From Academic Kids

Lecturer is the name given to university teachers in most of the English-speaking world (but not at most universities in the US or Canada) who do not hold a professorship.


United Kingdom

Lecturers are generally divided into Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, and Principal Lecturers/Readers and are permanent positions in a university which involve carrying out both teaching and research. These positions are generally comparable to "Assistant", "Associate", and "Full" Professors, respectively, under the US system, with the title "Professor" being reserved for only the most senior academics in the UK, and roughly equivalent to a chaired professorship in the US.

However the academic rank system in the UK is gradually changing with promotion to senior lecturer being based on a mixture of teaching research and administration whilst the rank of Reader is obtained via research. Hence Senior Lecturer/Reader are essentially the same rank with the former position having a higher emphasis on teaching and the latter position having a higher emphasis on research at some institutions. Professorships (or personal chairs) are being awarded much more frequently in the UK than in previous years with this position now becoming the equivalent of the US 'Full' Professor. Most lecturers have Ph.D.s, and in many fields this is a pre-requisite of the job.

Australia and New Zealand

Universities in these nations are organized in a manner similar to the United Kingdom. Despite gradual changes in the promotion policies that seem to be moving institutions in these countries toward the United States' system, generally the rank and promotion policies are more conservative than the UK and resemble the traditional UK approach.

In many universities, lecturers take on additional roles such as tutoring and sometimes demonstrating in labratory settings.

United States

Some American universities have Lecturers whose responsibility is undergraduate education, especially for introductory/survey courses that attract large groups of students, in contrast to full professors, who often have smaller "seminar" style courses with limited enrollment, usually reserved for upperclassmen or graduate students and sometimes restricted to the academic major for that course. The most common US terminology for these academic positions are "Instructor" or "Adjunct". These lecturers generally do not have research duties, or their teaching loads are too high to allow time for research. Many are also graduate students themselves taking their own courses and working towards their PhD dissertation. Some have already completed the PhD but do not yet have a tenured position as a professor. The position is generally regarded as less prestigious than a professorship. The salary is considerably lower than a professorship, and tenure is generally unheard of. It 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. Adjuncts and Instructors are more frequently found at the Community/Junior College level than full-professors. In some cases, these positions are effectively a source of support for the better Ph.D. candidates, and are not in practice held after one's Ph.D. defense. Many US universities are 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 and US lecturers are often shamelessly exploited due to lacking the same job security and prestige of full professors.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland

There are a kind of lecturers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the Privatdozent. In difference to the Privatdozent, the UK lecturer leads a own research group like a professor, and also has the right to award someone a PhD.

See also

cs:Docent de:Lecturer he:מרצה


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