What’s in a name?

Titles for the teaching faculty at UVSC range from adjunct to professor, with many others in between. How faculty members get these titles and the qualifications for them are widely unknown to students. But these titles do make a difference for students.

UVSC’s teaching faculty consists of six different types of teachers. Starting with adjunct, these teachers work part-time, usually temporarily, without having responsibilities besides teaching classes.

Lecturers, who are similar to adjunct faculty, are full-time at UVSC on a one-year contract, which can get renewed on a year-by-year basis. Like adjunct faculty, lecturers lack obligations outside of classes.

The next bracket of faculty fit into the tenure plan. "The tenure track is an ongoing commitment, a promise of employment," said Bruce Parker of Faculty Affairs.

Tenure starts with faculty members being instructors. Instructors are faculty who do not have doctorate degrees or doctoral equivalents in their field of study, but who meet all other credentials.

One step up from instructor is assistant professor. This is the entry point for most professors, says Parker. Assistant professors have a doctorate degree or the equivalent, such as a Master of Arts.

Associate professors make up the next level of tenure. These teachers have served for six years and have “proven themselves,” said Parker.

Full professorship is attained by application only. The application process is "meant to be rigorous," said Parker.

Applicants are expected to have a good reputation and have been recognized for their substantial qualifications. Tenure as an associate professor for five years is also a requirement to officially become a professor. There is not a limit as to how many professors a school can have, but the title of professor is meant to be prestigious.

Professors are not reserved for upper-division courses. The best teachers still teach freshman level courses, so all students have available the best instruction possible.

A teacher’s title does not necessarily reflect the quality of a teacher. "Experience is going to affect what the student gets," said Parker, of how titles impact a student’s education.

According to Faculty Affairs, UVSC currently employs 452 full-time faculty members.

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