What’s a tenure track and why does it matter?
Figuring out how to address a professor always seems like a challenge. Their titles, professor or lecturer, whether or not they have a doctorate, or if they choose to be called by their first name makes it difficult to figure out what to call someone at the college. But what do these titles mean?
The professor track consists of three ranks, which are assistant professor, associate professor and professor.
“The professor ranks indicate someone on the tenure track or tenured,” said Eric Tenbus, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “They have up to seven years to apply for tenure and promotion, which go hand in hand.”
If an assistant professor is successful in this application, he or she will be promoted to associate professor and granted tenure, which brings not only a higher salary level but also job security. A person on the professor track can eventually apply to be what is sometimes referred to as a full professor. This comes with an increase in pay and is awarded to professors who have contributed to and gained respect in their field, taught dynamically and researched well for many years at GC.
Lecturers, by contrast, are a more teaching-oriented position. Professors, in addition to teaching, have more research/ writing and committee work requirements.
“In some departments, lecturers only teach the intro and lower level classes, which frees professors to teach the upper level courses,” said Mark Causey, lecturer of philosophy and religious studies. “The duties and class sizes as- signed to lecturers differs somewhat from department to department based on their specific needs.”
Professors have another advantage, as they are paid more than their lecturer counterparts. Lecturers also only have one promotion available, senior lecturer.
Employees on the administrative side, such as finance, communications or student affairs, are given more flexibility in their training and can come can from different areas. The requirements to be hired depends on the office and the supply of potential candidates.
“Higher education likes to hire from higher education,” said Omar Odeh, associate vice president for strategic communications. “If you’re coming from another college or university with a similar set of experiences, many places will look favorably upon that. Within the institution and GC, it depends on how many skills that transfer over that lend themselves well to the environment you’re in.”
In the administrative realm, most employees begin as a coordinator then progress to assistant manager, manager, associate director, assistant director and finally director.
“Some offices, depending on how they are structured, the person heading that portfolio may be a director,” Odeh said. “Other places it could be an assistant vice president, associate vice president or a vice president.”