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Main article: College teachers

The meaning of the word professor (Latin: professor, person is professed to be an expert in some art or science, teacher of highest rank[1]) varies. In some English-speaking countries, it refers to a senior academic who holds a departmental chair, especially as head of the department, or a personal chair awarded specifically to that individual. In other English speaking regions and countries like the United States, Brazil, Canada, India, Hong Kong, individuals often use the term professor as a polite form of address for any lecturer, or researcher employed by a college or university, regardless of rank, whereas in the UK and Australia it is a legal title conferred by a university denoting the highest academic rank. In some countries, e.g. Austria, France, Romania, Serbia, Poland and Italy, the term is an honorific applied also to secondary level teachers. (See differences and main positions below for more information.)

Professors are qualified experts who may do the following:

The balance of these five classic fields of professorial tasks depends heavily on the institution, place (country), and time. For example, professors at highly research-oriented universities in the U.S. and all European universities are promoted primarily on the basis of their research achievements as well as their success in raising money from sources outside the university.

Tenure[edit | edit source]

In the United States and Canada, a tenured professor has a lifetime appointment until retirement, except for dismissal with "due cause". The reason for the existence of such a privileged position is the principle of academic freedom, which holds that it is beneficial for state, society and academe in the long run if learned persons are free to examine, hold, and advance controversial views without fear of losing their jobs. Tenure allows professors to engage in current political or other controversies. Critics assert that it also means that lazy or unpleasant professors cannot be forced to improve, and have suggested including management techniques from the business world such as performance review, audits, and performance-based salaries.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The argument has also been made that tenure actually diminishes academic freedom, as it forces all those seeking tenured positions to profess to the same views (political and academic) as those deciding who is awarded a tenured position. For example, " is practically career suicide for a young theoretical physicist not to join the field [of string theory]."[2]

In some other countries Professors are tenured in a similar way to those in the United States and Canada; still others have no tenure whatsoever, while in many countries the situation is somewhere between full tenure but more than no tenure at all.

United States[edit | edit source]

The term "professors" in the United States refers to a group of educators at the tertiary level. In colloquial language, usage of the term may refer to any educator at the post-secondary level, yet a considerable percentage of post-secondary educators are hired as lecturers or instructors, not as professors. Additionally, the post-secondary teacher classifications includes teaching assistants who are most commonly graduate students.[3] In the U.S., professors commonly occupy the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor or full professor. Research and education are among the main tasks of professors with the time spent in research or teaching depending strongly on the type of institution. The publication of articles in conferences, journals, and books are essential to occupational advancement.[3] As of August 2007 teaching in tertiary educational institutions is one of the fastest growing occupations, topping the U.S. Department of Labor's list of "above average wages and high projected growth occupations," with a projected increase of 524,000 positions between 2004 and 2014.[4]

Demographically, most professors in the U.S. are male, liberal,[5][6] upper middle class,[7] and among the top 15% of wage earners. The profession has been continuously rated as one of the most admired in the country.[8] According to a study by Robert Lichter, a professor at George Mason University, "The vast majority of professors in the United States identify themselves as liberal, and registered Democrats commonly outnumber registered Republicans."[5] Despite the liberal leaning of most professors, political scientist Brett O'Bannon of DePauw University has pointed out that the liberal opinions of professors seem to have little if any effect on the political orientation of students.[9] In terms of education, the vast majority hold Doctorate degrees. Professors at community colleges may only have a Master's degree while those at four year institutions are commonly required to hold a doctorate degree.[3]

Salary[edit | edit source]

The overall median salary for all professors was $73,000, placing a slight majority of professors among the top 15% of earners age 25 or older.[10] According to the U.S. Department of Labor,

Salaries for full-time faculty averaged $73,207. By rank, the average was $98,974 for professors, $69,911 for associate professors, $58,662 for assistant professors, $42,609 for instructors, and $48,289 for lecturers. Faculty in 4-year institutions earn higher salaries, on average, than do those in 2-year schools. In 2006-07, faculty salaries averaged $84,249 in private independent institutions, $71,362 in public institutions, and $66,118 in religiously affiliated private colleges and universities.[11]

Salaries varied widely by field and rank ranging from $45,927 for an assistant professor in theology to $136,634 for a full professor in "Legal Professions and Studies."[12] Another study by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources found the average salary for all faculty members, including instructors, to be $66,407, placing half of all faculty members in the top 15.3% of income earners above the age of 25. Median salaries were $54,000 for assistant professors, $64,000 for associate professors and $86,000 for full-professors 2005.[13] During the 2005-06 year, salaries for assistant professors ranged from $45,927 in theology to $81,005 in law. For associate professors salaries ranged from $56,943 in theology to $98,530 in law, while salaries among full professors ranged from $68,214 in theology to $136,634 in law.[12] Full professors at elite institutions commonly enjoy six figure incomes, such as $123,300 at UCLA or $148,500 at Stanford.[14] The CSU system, which is the largest system in the U.S. with over 11,000 faculty members, had an average full-time faculty salary of $74,000, scheduled to increase to $91,000 by 2011.[15]

Rank Lowest median[12] Highest median[12] Overall median[11] Common range[12] Common salary range in relation to labor force
Full-time, age 25+[16] All earners age 25+[17]
Assistant Professor $45,927 $81,005 $58,662 Low 50s - Low 60s 70th to 75th percentile 77th to 83th percentile
Associate Professor $56,943 $98,530 $69,911 Low 60s - High 70s 75th to 86th percentile 83th to 87th percentile
Full Professor $68,214 $136,634 $98,974 High 70s - Low 100s
Mid 100s at Elite Universities
86th to 91th percentile
96th percentile
87th to 91th percentile
97th percentile

Main positions[edit | edit source]

Assistant professor[edit | edit source]

The entry-level position, for which one usually needs a Ph.D. or other doctorate; a master's degree may suffice, especially at community colleges or in fields for which there is a terminal master's degree. In some areas, such as the natural sciences, it is uncommon to grant assistant professor positions to recently graduated Ph.D.s, and nearly all assistant professors will have completed some time as postdoctoral fellows. The position is generally not tenured, although in most institutions, the term is used for "tenure-track" positions; that is, the candidate can become tenured after a probationary period—anywhere from 3 to 7 years. Rates for achieving tenure vary, depending on the institutions and areas of study; in most places at least 50% of assistant professors are tenured and promoted to associate professors after the sixth year; however, this number can be as low as 10% in natural sciences departments of top universities or in non-Ph.D.-granting schools. In unusual circumstances it is possible to receive tenure but to remain as an assistant professor, typically when tenure is awarded early.

Associate professor[edit | edit source]

The mid-level position, usually awarded (in the humanities and social sciences) after a substantial publication record, such as a book, book contract, or second book--although the requirements vary considerably between institutions and departments. Generally upon obtaining tenure, one is also promoted to associate professor. Less commonly, a person may be hired at the associate professor level without tenure (which is a typical practice at some universities, including MIT). Typically this is done as a financial inducement to attract someone from outside the institution, but who might not yet meet all the qualifications for tenure. If awarded to a non-tenured person, the position is usually tenure-track with an expectation that the person will soon qualify for tenure. However, at some institutions (including Harvard), associate professors are untenured and only rarely promoted to tenure.

(Full) professor[edit | edit source]

The senior position. In a traditional school this position is always tenured. However, this may not be the case in a for-profit private institution. The absence of a mandatory retirement age contributes to "graying" of this occupation. The median age of American full professors is currently around 55 years. Very few people attain this position before the age of 40. The annual salary of full professors averages around $95,000, although less so at non-doctoral institutions, and more so at private doctoral institutions (not including side income from grants and consulting, which can be substantial in some fields); in addition, institutions in major cities or high cost of living areas will pay higher salaries[1]. Full professors earn on average about 70% more than assistant professors in the same institution. However, particularly in scientific and technical fields, this is still considerably less than salaries of those with comparable training and experience working in industry positions.

In addition to increasing salary, each promotional step also tends to come with increased departmental or institutional responsibilities. At some institutions, these changes are offset by a reduced teaching load.

Other designations[edit | edit source]

Professor emeritus[edit | edit source]

Full professors who retire in good standing may be referred to as Professors Emeritus. This title is also given to retired professors who continue to teach and to be listed; they may also draw a very large percentage of their last salary as pension. The title may also be given to full professors who have left for another institution but are still working full time. The concept has in some places been expanded to include also associate tenured professors; in some systems and institutions, it needs a special act or vote.

Distinguished (teaching/research) professor[edit | edit source]

These titles, often specific to one institution, generally are granted to the top few percent of the tenured faculty (and sometimes to under one percent, although at wealthy schools, such as Harvard Business School even close to half may hold such titles). Examples include M.I.T.'s Institute Professor and Duke University's James B. Duke Professor.

Visiting professor[edit | edit source]

Someone visiting another college or university to teach for a limited time; this may be someone who is a professor elsewhere or a distinguished scholar or practitioner who is not. The term may also refer simply to terminal (usually 1 to 3 years) teaching appointments and/or post-doctorate research appointments (which are much like research internships). See also: Sessional instructor.

Distinguished Visiting Professor is an academic title bestowed by American universities on prominent scholars who have been invited to teach a course in their area of expertise for one semester or more to enrolled undergraduate and graduate students.

Distinguished Visiting Professors offer faculty and students first-hand insights into a wide array of fields.

Collegiate professor[edit | edit source]

Full-time professors (four or more courses per term) whose primary purpose is to teach, but also serve on academic committees. Since these positions are non-tenure track there is generally no publishing requirement, though many of these professors do publish, research, and consult. At a PhD-granting institution the collegiate professor must have a PhD or a terminal Master's degree (ie, MFA, MBA, etc.) as opposed to a regular master's degree (ie, MA, MB, etc.). At some institutions, terms such as lecturer, senior lecturer, instructor, or preceptor are used for similar positions.

Adjunct professor[edit | edit source]

Someone who does not have a permanent position at the academic institution. This may be someone with a job outside the academic institution teaching courses in a specialized field; or it may refer to persons hired to teach courses on a contractual basis (frequently renewable contracts). It is generally a part-time position with a teaching load below the minimum required to earn benefits (health care, life insurance, etc.), although the number of courses taught can vary from a single course to a full-time load (or even an overload).

An adjunct is generally not required to participate in the administrative responsibilities at the institution expected of other full-time professors, nor do they generally have research responsibilities. The pay for these positions is usually nominal, even though adjuncts typically hold a Ph.D., requiring most adjuncts to hold concurrent positions at several institutions or in industry. Due to the considerably lower salaries of adjunct professors, many universities in North America have reduced hiring of tenure-track faculty in favor of recruiting adjuncts on a contractual basis. Contingent faculty now make up more than half of all faculty positions in the United States.[18]

Adjuncts provide flexibility to the faculty, acting as additional teaching resources to be called up as necessary; however, their teaching load is variable: classes can be transferred from adjuncts to full-time professors, classes with low enrollment can be summarily canceled and the teaching schedule from one semester to the next can be unpredictable. Furthermore, if the university makes a good faith offer to an adjunct professor of teaching during the following semester depending on enrollment, the adjunct generally cannot file for unemployment during the break. In some cases, an adjunct may hold one of the standard ranks in another department, and be recognized with adjunct rank for making significant contributions to the department in question. Thus, e.g., one could be a "Associate Professor of Physics and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry."

Named chair[edit | edit source]

A full professor who is awarded a specific, endowed chair that has been sponsored by a fund, firm, person, etc. Named chairs are usually similar to the Continental European model in that they are a position rather than a career rank.

Professor by courtesy[edit | edit source]

A professor who is primarily and originally associated with one academic department, but has become officially associated with a second department, institute, or program within the university and has assumed a professor's duty in that second department as well. Example: "Joshua H. Alman is Professor of Law and Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics at Stanford University". Usually the second courtesy appointment carries with it fewer responsibilities and fewer benefits than a single full appointment.

Research Professor[edit | edit source]

A professor who does not take on all five of the classic duties (see overview) but instead focuses on research. At most universities research professors are not eligible for tenure and must fund their salary entirely through research grants. In parallel with tenure-track faculty ranks, there are assistant and associate research professor positions.

Assistant or associate teaching professors[edit | edit source]

Focus on teaching and supervising teaching assistants.

Honorary professor[edit | edit source]

Normally granted to those who have contributed significantly to the school and community, for example, by donation for furtherance of research and academic development.

Gypsy scholar[edit | edit source]

Is an informal term given to some academics who either move several times between institutions and/or work at two or more institutions at a time[How to reference and link to summary or text]. There are several possible reasons explaining the existence of gypsy scholars. Many teaching jobs are now either part-time (adjunct), terminal (1–3 years), or both. Tenure-track positions are harder to secure as the trend toward hiring adjunct teachers is becoming more wide spread and as tenured professors are living longer lives and retiring later. Housing and living costs are rising in the vicinity of certain universities. Some faculty teach at more than one institution because their field is so small or specialized that each institution offers only one or two classes in their area.

Regardless of the cause, this is a particularly severe and controversial problem in the California State University system, where many of its 23 campuses are within driving distance of each other. CSU instructors who teach at more than one institution at the same time—particularly adjunct instructors—are referred to as "freeway flyers."[19] Between 1995 and 2001, they rose from 39% to 48% of CSU faculty while the percentage of faculty with tenure dropped from 47% to 35%.[20]

International Professor[edit | edit source]

Refers to academics teaching simultaneously on two continents, or to those who by dint of teaching in one to several foreign countries over years, come to see themselves as regionally or internationally attuned. Changes to one's academic, social and academic identity have been substantiated by scholarship and research papers.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Sessional instructor[edit | edit source]

A sessional instructor is a person, usually a Ph.D.-holder, who is hired to teach at a university or college on a limited contract, often for a single term. Considerable controversy surrounds the practice of hiring sessionals, since they are increasingly making up a large proportion of instructors at North American universities, where they earn considerably less than other instructors and have no job security.

Most other English-speaking countries[edit | edit source]

See Lecturer and academic rank for an explanation of these titles

In the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, and most Commonwealth countries (but not Canada and India), a professor traditionally held either a departmental chair (generally as the head of the department or of a sub-department) or a personal chair (a professorship awarded specifically to that individual). This usage is equivalent to more senior Professorship in North America, such as named or Distinguished Professorships. In most universities professorships are reserved for only the most senior academic staff, and other academics are generally known as "Lecturers" (and Senior Lecturers in New Universities), approximately equivalent to North American Assistant Professors or Associate Professors, and "Senior Lecturers" (or Principal Lecturers in New Universities) and "Readers" (or Associate Professors in most New Zealand and Australian universities), approximately equivalent to North American Associate Professors or full Professors, not holding a named or distinguished Professorship. Senior/Principal Lecturers are generally paid the same as Readers, but the latter is awarded primarily for research excellence, and traditionally carries higher prestige.

During the 1990s, however, the University of Oxford introduced Titles of Distinction, enabling their holders to be termed Professors or Readers while holding academic posts at the level of Lecturer. The University of Exeter has adopted the Antipodean style of "Associate Professor" in lieu of Reader. The varied practices these changes have brought about has meant that the previous consistency of academic rank in the United Kingdom is threatened.

In some countries the title of "Professor" is reserved in correspondence to full professors only; lecturers and readers are properly addressed by their academic qualification (Dr. for a Ph.D., D.Phil. etc. and Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms otherwise). In Australia, Associate Professors are often addressed as Professor.

Egypt[edit | edit source]

Public universities have five ranks for faculty members: moeed (معيد, strict transliteration Mu`īd; equivalent to teaching assistant), modares mosaed (مدرس مساعد, strict transliteration Mudarris musā`id; equivalent to senior teaching assistant), modares (مدرس, strict transliteration Mudarris; equivalent to assistant professor), ostaz mosaed (أستاذ مساعد, strict transliteration 'Ustāḏ musā`id; equivalent to associate professor), and ostaz (أستاذ, strict transliteration 'Ustāḏ; equivalent to professor)

Teaching assistant: Academic departments hire teaching assistants by either directly hiring the top ranking students of the most recent graduates, or publishing advertisements. Once hired, a teaching assistant must obtain a master’s degree within five years of commencing employment. Otherwise, s/he must either leave the university, or be transferred to any administrative department that s/he is qualified for. Teaching assistants duties include preparing and delivering tutorial and lab sessions, preparing assignments and term projects requirements, preparing and conducting laboratory examinations, and tutorial quizzes, and co-supervising graduation projects.

Senior teaching assistant: After a teaching assistant obtains a master degree, s/he is promoted to a senior teaching assistant. Usually, the duties do not change, but the salary increases slightly. To keep her/his post, a senior teaching assistant must obtain a doctorate degree within five years. Otherwise, s/he must either leave the university, or be transferred to any administrative department that s/he is qualified for.

Assistant professor: Once a senior teaching assistant obtains a doctorate, s/he is hired as an assistant professor, and receives tenureship. Assistant professors duties include delivering lectures, supervising graduation projects, master theses, and doctorate dissertations.

Associate professor: After at least five years, an assistant professor can apply for a promotion to the rank of associate professor. The decision is based on the scholarly contributions of the applicant, in terms of publications and theses and dissertations supervised.

Professor: After at least five years, an associate professor can apply for a promotion to the rank of a professor. The decision is based on the scholarly contributions of the applicant, in terms of publications and theses and dissertations supervised.

Academic duties of associate professors and professors are nearly the same as assistant professors. However, only associate professors and professors can assume senior administrative posts like a department chair, a college vice dean, and a college dean.

India[edit | edit source]

India now has two ways of gaining entry to the higher education academic scenario. One is to be selected directly by a university or college. The position is permanent, but there is significant oversight from the government in selection and retention of staff due to the financial burden on the State. The other is to be selected by a centralised commission which is very competitive but more secure. One has to do very well at MA/MSc and then take national exams to qualify for the commission's interviews. The ranking system is a hybrid of the American and British systems. In some places there are five faculty ranks while at others there are three. Entry level positions are known as lecturers or sometimes assistant professors. The positions of Reader is similar to associate professor and the highest is Professor.

France[edit | edit source]

After the doctorate granted by a university or a grande école (in France), scholars who wish to enter academia may apply for a position of maître de conférences ("master of conferences"). To get this position they must first be approved by the National University Council, made up of elected and appointed professors, and then be chosen by the scientific committee of the University, made up of elected professors. Thus recruitment is mostly made by other professors, rather than by administrators.

The salary scale is national and does not vary from one university to another.

After some years in this position, they may take an "habilitation to direct theses" before applying for a position of professeur des universités ("university professor"). Their suitability for such a position will be judged mostly on their published original research.

In the past, this required a higher doctorate [a "State Doctorate"]. In some disciplines such as Law, Management ["Gestion"] and Economics, candidates take the agrégation competitive examination; only the higher-ranked are nominated.

Both maître de conférences and professors are civil servants; however they follow a special statute guaranteeing academic freedom. As an exception to civil service rules, these positions are open regardless of citizenship. There also exist equivalent ranks as state employees (non civil service) for professors coming from industry. These ranks are maître de conférences associé et professeur des universités associé, depending on the professor's experience.

Teaching staff in higher education establishments outside the university system, such as the École polytechnique, may follow different denominations and statutes. Professeurs des universités are in some establishments, such as the EHESS, called directeurs d'étude (Research advisors).

In recent years, an increasing proportion of maîtres de conférences have been replaced by teachers who are not paid to do research (and therefore teach longer hours).

Denmark[edit | edit source]

In Denmark the word professor is only used about full professors. An Associate professor is in Danish called a lektor and an assistant professor is called an adjunkt.

Germany[edit | edit source]

After the doctorate, German scholars who wish to go into academic work usually work toward a Habilitation by writing a second thesis, known as the Habilitationsschrift.This is often accomplished while employed as a Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter or Wissenschaftlicher Assistent ("scientific assistant", C1) or a non-tenured position as Akademischer Rat ("academic councilor", both 3+3 years teaching and research positions) . Once they pass their Habilitation, they are called Privatdozent and are eligible for a call to a chair. Alternatively they may be hired to fill a "Junior-Professorship."

Note that in Germany, there has always been a debate about whether Professor is a title that remains one's own for life once conferred (similar to the doctorate), or whether it is linked to a function (or even the designation of a function) and ceases to belong to the holder once she or he quits or retires (except in the usual case of becoming Professor emeritus). The former view has won the day - although in many German Länder ("states"), there is a minimum requirement of five years of service before "Professor" may be used as a title without the respective job - and is by now both the law and majority opinion.

When appropriate, the joint title Professor Doktor (Prof. Dr.), has also been heard in the German system. This reflects the fact that most academics who have reached this stage will indeed have written both a doctoral thesis and a habilitation (i.e. a second academic work beyond the doctorate).

Similar or identical systems as in Germany (where a Habilitation is required) are in place, e.g., in Austria, the German-speaking part of Switzerland, as well as in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.

Main positions[edit | edit source]

  • Professor ordinarius (ordentlicher Professor, o. Prof.): professor with chair, representing the area in question. In Germany, it's common to call these positions in colloquial use "C4" professorships, due to the name of respective entry in the official salary table for Beamte (civil servant). (Following recent reforms of the salary system at universities, you might now find the denomination "W3 professor".)
  • Professor extraordinarius (außerordentlicher Professor, ao. Prof.): professor without chair, often in a side-area, or being subordinated to a professor with chair. Often, successful but junior researchers will first get a position as ao. Prof. and then later try to find an employment as o. Prof. at another university. Colloquially called a "C3 professor" in Germany (or in the new scheme: "W2").
  • Professor: In addition to old universities Germany also has Fachhochschulen (FH) as institutions of higher learning, mostly referred to as "universities of applied science". Since a new salary scheme has been introduced in 2005, there are both W2 and W3 professors for the Fachhochschulen as there are for the old universities. Hence, the last formal difference has been eliminated. A professor at an FH does not have to have gone through the process of habilitation or junior professorship but can rather directly apply for the position after his doctorate. He is not able to confer doctorates and generally enjoys a much lower prestige than the highly esteemed o. Prof.
  • Professor emeritus: just like in North America (see above); used both for the ordinarius and for the extraordinarius, although strictly speaking only the former is entitled to be addressed in this way. Although retired and being paid a pension instead of a salary, they may still teach and take exams and often still have an office.
  • Juniorprofessor: an institution started in 2002 in Germany, this is a 6-year time-limited professorship for promising young scholars without Habilitation. It is supposed to rejuvenate the professorship through fast-track for the best, who eventually are supposed to become professor ordinarius. This institution has been introduced as a replacement for the Habilitation, which is now considered more an obstacle than quality control by many. Being new, the concept is intensely debated due to a lack of experience with this new approach. The main criticism is that Juniorprofessors are expected to apply for professorships at other universities during the latter part of the six year period, as their universities are not supposed to offer tenure themselves (unlike in the tenure track schemes used, e.g., in the USA).

Recent studies have found that both the interest in applying for 'junior professorships' and the willingness of academic institutions to create these positions has declined since they were first made possible.

For references (all in German) and more see (the German page 'Juniorprofessur)

Other positions[edit | edit source]

  • Honorarprofessor (Ehrenprofessor, Professor honoris causa): equivalent to the North American adjunct professor, non-salaried.
  • außerplanmäßiger Professor (apl. Prof.): either a tenured university lecturer or Privatdozent to whom the title is given if she or he has not attained a regular professorship after a while, or likewise an adjunct professor. The word außerplanmäßig (meaning "outside of the plan (of positions and salaries)") denotes that he is not paid as a professor but only as a researcher.
  • Lehrbeauftragter a paid part-time (for example 2 hrs per week in a semester) teaching position for scientists in general with non university position who holds a PhD, Lehrbeauftragter is maybe comparable with a junior adjunct professor.
  • Substitute Professor: is a professor who "substitutes" a vacant chair for a limited amount of time (in German: "Vertretungsprofessor"), mostly 1 or 2 semesters. Very often academics with a "Habilitation" who use this job as a changeover position before getting this particular job in a tenured way or before getting a tenured professorship at another institution.

Other professors[edit | edit source]

In the United States, the bestowal of titles on persons is prohibited by the Constitution. On the other hand, most European governments actively grant different honorifics to their noted citizens. Therefore, the government is actually considered to have a final say in who should be called a professor. This leads to some other uses of the title professor.

  • Professor as an honorary title: In some countries using the German-style academic system (e.g. Austria, Finland, Sweden), Professor is also an honorific title that can be bestowed upon an artist, scholar, etc., by the President or by the government, completely independent of any actual academic post or assignment.
  • Gymnasialprofessor (High School Professor): Senior teachers at certain senior high schools in some German states and in Austria were also designated Professor in the late 19th and early 20th century. In Austria, tenured high school teachers are still called Professor. However, it is unclear whether Austrian high school teachers starting their career today will have equally easy access to tenure when they become older.
  • Music teachers: In the United States, the title of professor has sometimes been used for music teachers, especially in small towns. This use is now considered nearly obsolete and humorous. (Copperud, 306). However in Great Britain and Ireland, the term professor is properly and in formal situations given to singing and instrumental tutors in the music colleges / conservatories of music, usually the older and more august ones: The Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of music, Royal Northern College of Music, Trinity College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Birmingham Conservatory, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. The expression has nearly become obsolete for singing and instrumental tuition in the universities however, save for one or two.

Netherlands[edit | edit source]

The ranking system in Dutch universities is virtually aligned with the American system. A junior faculty starts as Lecturer ( universitair docent, abbreviated UD) which is equivalent to Assistant Professor. Within a few years and subject to satisfactory performance, one is often promoted to Senior Lecturer (universitair hoofddocent, or UHD) which is equivalent to Associate Professor. Finally, following substantial research achievements and international reputation, one may be promoted to the highest rank of Full Professor (hoogleraar), just like in the American system. Most scientific staff will have both research and teaching duties.

While the ranking system is similar, the concept of tenure is very different. In Dutch universities, tenure is obtained automatically after few years of employment in a full time position, and is thereafter not subject to review until retirement, so that the potential for advancement for junior faculty is limited. Comparatively, obtaining tenure in North American universities is based on merit and based on regular review of scientific performance.

Dutch universities can also appoint Extraordinary Professors on a part-time basis. This allows the University to bring in specialized expertise that otherwise would not be available. An extraordinary professor usually has his main employment somewhere else, often in industry or at a research institute or University elsewhere. Such a buitengewoon hoogleraar has all the privileges of a full professor ((gewoon) hoogleraar), may give lectures on special topics, or can supervise graduate students who may do their research at the place of his main employment. Due to this system, many university research groups will have several professors.

Some Dutch universities have also instated institute professorship, sometimes with special rights such as no obligation to teach undergraduate students.

Israel[edit | edit source]

The ranking system combines the American system and the German one. There are four faculty ranks rather than three: lecturer (martze), senior lecturer (martze bakhir), associate professor (profesor khaver), and full professor (profesor min ha-minyan). Lecturer is roughly equivalent to the American assistant professor rank, and senior lecturer to associate professor ranks. The two higher ranks have German rather than American equivalents: profesor chaver is comparable to professor extraordinarius, while profesor min ha-minyan is the equivalent, and Hebrew translation of, professor ordinarius. The academic programs of the university are controlled by a Senate, of which every full professor is a member. Israeli universities do not, as a rule, grant tenure to new hires, regardless of previous position, rank, or eminence. A candidate is considered for tenure together with promotion to the next highest rank, or after a year for initial appointments made at the rank of full professor.

Spain[edit | edit source]

Background information

In the past twenty-five years, Spain has gone through three university reforms: 1983 (Ley de Reforma Universitaria, LRU), 2001 (Ley Orgánica de Universidades, LOU) and 2007 (a mere reform of the LOU with several specific modifications of the 2001 Act). We can name them LRU 1983, LOU 2001 and LOU 2007.

The actual categories of tenured and untenured positions, and the basic department and university organization, were established by LRU 1983, and only specific details have been reformed by LOU 2001 and LOU 2007. The most important reform introduced by these later acts has affected the way in which candidates to a position are selected. According to LRU 1983, a committee of five members had to evaluate the curricula of the candidates. A new committee was constituted for each new position, operating in the same university offering that position. These committees had two members appointed by the department (including the Secretary of the Committee), and three members who were draw-selected (from any university, but belonging to the same "knowledge area"). With this system, the department only had to "persuade" one of the three "external" members of the committee into giving the position to their "insider" (the applicant from their own department). As a consequence, good applicants were often discarded in favor of mediocre "insiders", and shameless nepotism was common for 20 years.

The LOU 2001 and LOU 2007 acts have granted even more freedom to universities when choosing applicants for a position. Each university now freely establishes the rules for the creation of an internal committee that assigns available positions. It would seem that "insiders" are now even more advantaged. This is not the case, however, as the last two reforms also have introduced an external "quality control" process. To better understand these reforms, it is worth examining the situation both before and after 2007. The situation before 2007 was this: LOU 2001 had established a procedure, based on competition at national level, to became a civil servant. This procedure, and the license a candidate obtained, was called "habilitación", and it included curricula evaluation and personal examination. The external committee was formed by seven draw-selected members (belonging to the same "knowledge area" and fulfilling requisites related to research curricula), who could assign a fixed and pre-determined number of "habilitaciones" (but not positions). An applicant to a particular position in any university had to be "habilitado" (licensed) by this National Committee in order to apply. Non civil servants had a slightly different "quality control" process. A specific institution, called ANECA (Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de la Calidad), examined the applicants' curricula and issued them an "acreditación" (similar to the "habilitación", but for non civil servant positions). Today, following the LOU 2007 reform, the whole process has been simplified, and both civil and non civil servants only need to pass a faster and simpler "acreditación" process (the "habilitación" is gone). The curricula are now examined by an "external" committee, and there is no personal exam. This "outside of university" quality control process has remarkably increased the level of applicants to tenured positions (civil or non-civil servants) since 2001.

To sum it up, although in the past people could become catedrático or profesor titular with a random curriculum, since local support was the most important requirement for a candidate, independently of his/her research or teaching quality (LRU 1983), the certification system introduced by the LOU 2001 act (habilitación), which requires the candidate to pass a competitive exam at a national level for each category before applying for a position, has increased the standards of Spanish university professors to those of most countries. With LOU 2007, the "habilitación" has become "acreditación", and the committee will only evaluate the applicants' curricula, without making them go through a personal exam.

Before the LOU 2001 reform, tenure implied becoming a civil servant (funcionario). A civil servant, as in other European countries, cannot lose his job even in the case of remarkably bad performance. This had caused the level of many universities in Spain to drop. The LOU 2001 included two other tenured positions, not of civil servant type: Profesor Colaborador (this category has disappeared in 2007), and Profesor Contratado Doctor (equivalent to Profesor Titular de Universidad). Non-tenured positions include: Profesor Asociado (a part-time instructor who keeps a parallel job, for example in the industry, in a hospital or teaching in a school), Profesor Ayudante (a doctoral student working as teaching assistant), and Profesor Ayudante Doctor (a promotion from the latter, after completing the doctoral dissertation).

Under present legislation (LOU 2007), only the following positions are available:

Tenured positions:

  • Catedrático de Universidad: tenured, full time, civil servant, Ph. D required, "acreditación" required, only a Catedrático can be President of the University (Rector), European Union citizenship is required.
  • Profesor Titular de Universidad: tenured, full time, civil servant, Ph. D required, "acreditación" required, European Union citizenship is required.
  • Profesor Contratado Doctor: tenured, full time, not a civil servant, Ph. D required, "acreditación" required.
  • Profesor Asociado: can be a tenured position, part time, not a civil servant, no Ph. D required.

Non-tenure positions:

  • Profesor Ayudante Doctor: non tenured, full time, not a civil servant, Ph. D required, "acreditación" required, only for a limited period of time.
  • Profesor Ayudante: non tenured, full time, not a civil servant, no Ph. D required, only for a limited period of time.

Other positions:

  • Profesor Visitante: non tenured, not a civil servant, no Ph. D required, only for a limited period of time (visiting professor).
  • Profesor Emérito: non tenured, not a civil servant, only for a limited period of time, works under the specific rules established by the employing university.

Currently, a professor can be in one of the abolished categories (Profesor Titular de Escuela Universitaria, Profesor Colaborador), but no new position in these categories can be created. Of these six categories of tenured positions, four imply becoming a civil servant (funcionario): Catedrático de Universidad (usually the head of department, but not necessarily), Profesor Titular de Universidad (professor), Catedrático de Escuela Universitaria (fully equivalent in rank and salary to Profesor Titular de Universidad; this category has been abolished by LOU 2007), and Profesor Titular de Escuela Universitaria (this category has been abolished by LOU 2007). This last category was intended for instructors at technical schools and colleges without a PhD (the instructors currently in this category will be able to keep their job until retiring, but no new positions will be created). The Catedrático de Escuela Universitaria and the Profesor Titular de Universidad categories have been merged by the LOU 2007 reform. The two de Escuela Universitaria categories are intended mainly for teachers of three-year degrees (e.g. technical engineering, nursing, teaching in primary schools), while the two de Universidad categories include professors of any undergraduate or graduate degree.

The retiring age for university professors in Spain is 65, just like all other workers. However, a university professor can work until he is 70, if he so wishes. Even then, he, or she, can apply for a Profesor Emérito position. It is a non-tenured position and it has a limited duration (4 additional years). Also, there are specific rules established by the university.

Spain is not an easy country to work in for people with a foreign academic qualification[How to reference and link to summary or text]. People with a degree from a foreign school or university (even if they are Spanish citizens) must apply to the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science for a conversion into its equivalent to any of the current Spanish degrees. First, one's Bachelor's or Master's degree must be converted; after that, it is possible to apply for the conversion of the PhD degree. This procedure can take sometimes more than three years, and can fail if the courses taken by the applicant in his lower degree are too different from those required for the closest Spanish degree. For European citizens, there is a somewhat faster procedure called recognition (which can also fail) but it is only suitable for positions that do not require a curriculum evaluation by ANECA (i.e., only Profesor Ayudante). People with a Bachelor's degree who have completed a PhD immediately afterwards (that is, skipping a two year master's) have found it impossible to convert their degree, since the duration of their Bachelor's was three years, while the Spanish Bachelor's degree lasts from four to six years (four years for some degrees, including Law, Economics and Physics; six years for others, like Architecture, Engineering and Medicine). In addition, a Ph. D course in Spain lasts 2 years, but it usually takes two or more additional years to successfully complete and discuss one's dissertation. Furthermore, to become a professor of civil servant type, the applicant must be a European citizen, or be married to a European citizen. As a last consideration, besides a good knowledge of the Spanish language, in regions such as Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Valencia, the Basque Country and Galicia, a knowledge of the local language may be required. This is one of the most serious constraints to mobility for university professors in Spain, together with low salaries (see below).

Brazil[edit | edit source]

In Portuguese, professor means both professor and teacher.

Main positions[edit | edit source]

  • Professor Catedrático: now in disuse, refers to a professor who holds a chair.
  • Professor Titular: the highest current position in most Brazilian universities, corresponding to a full professor.
  • Professor Associado: associate professor. In São Paulo, a faculty member who has completed a "livre docência", which requires a Habilitation thesis and public examination.
  • Professor Adjunto: intermediate position between associate and assistant professor requiring a doctoral degree. This position exists only in the federal public universities; in the São Paulo state universities, the closest equivalent rank is now referred to as Professor Doutor.
  • Professor Assistente: an assistant professor, usually holding a master's degree only.
  • Auxiliar de Ensino: a teaching asssistant who has a bachelor's degree only; referred to as Professor Auxiliar in the federal universities.
  • Professor Substituto: the same as an adjunct professor in the US system, i.e. someone who does not have a permanent position at the academic institution.
  • Professor Visitante: the same as visiting professor.

See more on: Academic rank#Brazil

Salary of professors (Europe)[edit | edit source]

In interest of an expert's report from 2005 of the “Deutscher Hochschulverband DHV”, a lobby of the German professors, the salary of professors in the United States, Germany and Switzerland is as follows:

  • The annual salary of a German professor is €46,680 in group "W2" (mid-level) and €56,683 in group "W3" (the highest level), without performance-related surcharges. The anticipated average earnings with performance-related surcharges for a German professor is €71,500.
  • The anticipated average earnings of a Swiss professor vary for example between 158,953 CHF (€102,729) to 232,073 CHF (€149,985) at the University of Zurich and 187,937 CHF (€121,461) to 247,280 CHF (€159,774) at the ETH Zurich; the regulations are different depending on the Cantons of Switzerland.
  • The salaries of Professors in Spain vary widely, depending on the region (universities depend on the regional government, except the UNED, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) and different bonifications. These salary complements include "trienios" (depending on seniority, one for each three years), "quinquenios" (depending on the accomplisment of teaching criteria defined by the university, one for each five years of seniority) and "sexenios" (depending on the accomplisment of research criteria defined by the national government, one for each six years of seniority). These bonifications are quite small. However, the total number of "sexenios" is a requisite for being a member of different committees. The importance of these "sexenios" as a prestige factor in the university was increased by the LOU 2001. Some indicative numbers can be interesting, in spite of the variance in the data. We report net monthly payments (after taxes and social security fees), without bonifications: Ayudante, 1,200 euros; Ayudante Doctor, 1,400; Contratado Doctor; 1,800; Profesor Titular, 2,000 euros; Catedrático, 2,400 euros. There are a total of 14 payments per year, with 2 extra payments in July and December (but for less than a normal monthly payment). These salaries are comparatively low, even for the Public Administration, and far from the usual market salaries for similarly qualified professionals. Even more, those salaries are ridiculously low compared with the cost of housing in Spain, which seriously limits the movility of university profesors (in Madrid, a rented flat of 50 square meters costs 700-900 euros per month). The incredible increase in the cost of housing during the past decade, with frozen salaries, have impoverished university professors in Spain in real terms.
  • In 2007 the Dutch social fund for the academic sector SoFoKleS commissioned a comparative study of the wage structure of academic professions in the Netherlands in relation to that of other countries. Among the countries reviewed are the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. To improve comparability adjustments have been made to correct for purchasing power and taxes. Because of differences between institutions in the US and UK these countries have two listings of which one denotes the salary in top-tier institutions (based on the Shanghai-ranking).The table below shows the final reference wages expressed in net amounts of Dutch euros (i.e. converted into Dutch purchasing power).[21]
Country Assistant prof. Associate prof. Professor
Netherlands € 30,609 € 37,991 € 46,180
Germany € 24,492 € 30,383 € 34,657
Belgium € 29,244 € 33,778 € 38,509
Switzerland € 60,158 € 69,118 € 78,068
Sweden € 22,257 € 26,666 € 31,639
UK € 37,424 € 46,261 € 60,314
UK-top € 42,245 € 47,495 € 82,464
France € 23,546 € 29,316 € 37,118
U.S. comparison, using OECD PPP rates
United States € 58,662 € 69,911 € 98,974
Egypt comparison, using 2007 rates, salary consists of the basic salary and the benefits
Egypt € 2,000 (€ 330 basic salary plus € 1670 benefits) € 2,340 (€ 340 basic salary plus € 2000 benefits) € 4,350 (€ 350 basic salary plus € 4000 benefits)
  • Note that these countries provide different social benefits, social security, child care, etc, to their citizens making these numbers very hard to compare.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Harper, Douglas Online Etymology Dictionary. Etymonline. URL accessed on 2007-07-28.
  2. The Trouble with Physics, Lee Smolin
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 U.S. Department of Labor. (4 August, 2006). Occupational Outlook Handbook.. URL accessed on 2007-07-22.
  4. U.S. Department of Labor. (August, 2007). Spotlight on Statistics: Back to School.. URL accessed on 2007-10-11.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kurtz, H. (29 March, 2005). College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds. The Washington Post.. URL accessed on 2007-07-02.
  6. Shea, C. (12 October 2003). What liberal academia? The Boston Globe.. URL accessed on 2007-08-19.
  7. Thompson, William; Joseph Hickey (2005). Society in Focus, Boston, MA: Pearson. 0-205-41365-X.
  8. Gilbert, Dennis (1998). The American Class Structure, New York: Wadsworth Publishing. 0-534-50520-1.
  9. O'Bannon, B. R. (27 August, 2003). In Defense of the 'Liberal' Professor. Indianapolis Star.. URL accessed on 2007-07-02.
  10. US Census Bureau. (2006). Educational Attainment--People 25 Years Old and Over, by Total Money Earnings in 2005, Work Experience in 2005, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex.. URL accessed on 2007-07-22.
  11. 11.0 11.1 U.S. Department of Labor. (December 18, 2007). Teachers-Postsecondary: Earnings.. URL accessed on 2008-02-18.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 (2006). Faculty Median Salaries by Discipline and Rank (2005-06).. URL accessed on 2007-07-22.
  13. College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. (2005). National Faculty Salary Survey.. URL accessed on 2007-08-13.
  14. Wallac, T. & Schevitz, T. (14 May, 2006). UC Compensation Debate: Comparing university pay scales no easy task. San Francisco Chronicle.. URL accessed on 2007-07-22.
  15. CSU Public Affairs Office. (3 April, 2007). CSU, Faculty Union Reach Tentative Agreement on Four-Year Contract.. URL accessed on 2007-09-25.
  16. US Census Bureau. (2006). Earning for Both Sexes, 25 Years and Over, Worked Full-Time, Year-Round, All Races.. URL accessed on 2007-07-25.
  17. US Census Bureau. (2006). Earning for Both Sexes, 25 Years and Over, All Races.. URL accessed on 2007-07-25.
  18. The Future of the Contingent Faculty Movement
  19. Kevin Starr, Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 584.
  20. Starr, 584.
  21. SEO Economic Research. (29 May, 2007). International wage differences in academic occupations.. URL accessed on 2007-07-25.

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