We received this request to our Glossary of Confusing Words:
I need to know about the academic title in a University, from bottom to top
Academic titles are truly some of the most confusing things out there. Trying to define the difference between, say, an associate professor and a full professor can get fairly technical and can differ at different universities. But here’s a general guide to the most common academic titles you will encounter.
And as requested, I’ll go roughly from bottom to top.
Teaching Assistant, Preceptor – A student (usually a graduate or Ph.D. student) who assists the professor of a class, often conducting tutorial or discussion sections
Part-time or Non-permanent Faculty:
Adjunct (or Adjunct Professor) – Someone who teaches at a university but is not employed full-time by the institution; often a scholar/practitioner who is contracted to teach a course