S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Academic Rank

Here's my understanding of how academic ranks equate between the U.S. and Canada and the UK. If there are differences between American and Canadian academic ranks, I'm currently unaware of them. Please correct and amend this chart as much as necessary.

U.S. and CanadaUnited Kingdom
Distinguished/University/Institute Professor (tenured)Professor
(Full) Professor (tenured)Reader
Associate Professor (usually tenured)Senior Lecturer
Assistant ProfessorLecturer
Adjunct instructor (or professor)/Sessional (paid on a course-by-course basis)Associate Lecturer

Now how would you address each of these people? All of them who have the appropriate degree (not all of them) can safely be addressed as "Doctor", although many would rather not use the title.* In the U.S. and Canada, all university-level academic intructurs can be addressed as "Professor". In the UK, "Professor" is only appropriate for the most highly-ranked university-level instructors. Many departments or institutions have their own conventions, such as addressing all teaching staff by their first name.

Yet, in an environment as rank-reliant and conservative as academic often is, what titles people are entitled to and what titles people choose to use really matter for maintaining decorum and smoothing interactions with instructors at other ranks. Can any other generalizations about titles and means of address be safely made, or is everything else done on a case-by-case basis?

* garrity, whose post on titles inspired this one, writes that the older generation of academics in her department prefer the purportedly rank-equalizing "Mr."
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