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Assistant professors without PhDs?

By johnboy - 13 April 2012 31

Not naming any names, but I keep seeing people coming up from the University of Canberra revelling in the title of “Assistant Professor” who are yet to complete their doctoral thesis.

I’m curious as to what, if anything, our learned readers make of this?

What’s Your opinion?


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31 Responses to
Assistant professors without PhDs?
Jim Jones 3:43 pm 13 Apr 12

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

The struggles of academia – who gives a crap?

People who aren’t aggressively anti-intellectual?

New Yeah 3:31 pm 13 Apr 12

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

The struggles of academia – who gives a crap?

The OP doesn’t seem to indicate a ‘struggle’ as such, just seeking clarification.

Oh, to be a self-made businessman with a diverse portfolio of investment properties. Then I too might not give a crap.

astrojax 2:06 pm 13 Apr 12

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

The struggles of academia – who gives a crap?

clearly, jb gives one [however small it may be…] 🙂

and frankly, without academia, tell me where you’d be?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 12:42 pm 13 Apr 12

The struggles of academia – who gives a crap?

EvanJames 12:39 pm 13 Apr 12

There is a position in our higher ed system of Associate Professor, but that’s not an assistant anything. Professor-ship is the awarding of a Chair at an institution to a person. I think they can hold onto the title after they step down or retire.

A Ph.D is not mandatory, it just signals how far the person got in academia. Some might have opted for a Masters instead, or several of them.

johnboy 12:35 pm 13 Apr 12

just a question

astrojax 12:31 pm 13 Apr 12

a doctorate isn’t a requisite for senior academic positions, irrespective of how ubiquitous it seems. i recall anu had an arts faculty dean (and dept head) who had not ever gained a doctorate (so was ‘mr x’, not dr x) [though he was very handy on a harpsichord and his understanding of ancient philosophy was impecable…]

not sure what the op’s problem is – or is it just a naive beef?

p1 10:57 am 13 Apr 12

I had a couple of very senior lecturers at uni (not UC) who didn’t have PhDs. Although they were very much in the minority, and very unlikely to get to that level these days.

I think Assistant Professor is just a made up title for the same position.

pajs 10:54 am 13 Apr 12

I wasn’t aware of ‘Assistant Professor’ being used in Australia like it is in the States. ‘Adjunct Professor’ used to be the title outside the rank/promotion system, often to cover people doing a bit of teaching or research coming in to the academy from a background in practice, usually while keeping their original job.

Has UC tried to rebadge this?

New Yeah 10:38 am 13 Apr 12

I always thought Assistant Professor was a title used in the States, and is roughly comparable to what we call a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in Australia.

I wouldn’t be comfortable calling myself Assistant Professor if I was yet to be awarded a PhD, but then again, things might be done differently at UC.

c_c 10:24 am 13 Apr 12

Meh, even a professor plays second fiddle to those who earn the title “Well Endowed Professor” – um, that doesn’t sound right?

dpm 10:14 am 13 Apr 12

AFAIK (and I don’t know much), there’s no specific qualification (e.g. PhD) that must be a requirement before becoming a profeessor, let alone an assistant professor?

EvanJames 10:09 am 13 Apr 12

It’s rather hard to come up with a valid Ph.D topic on much of what Canberra University of TAFE teaches. Ph.Ds being research-based and all.

Here_and_Now 10:00 am 13 Apr 12

It’s not unheard of. The titles aren’t like a rank system, with ‘Professor’ above ‘Doctor’. As I understand it, generally to be at the level of being recognised as an Assistant, Associate, or any other kind of Professor, you’d likely have done a PhD, but it’s not universal.

Nothing to fuss about, really.

buzz819 9:53 am 13 Apr 12

That they are academic wannabes?

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