When you become a full time faculty member at a university you hold the position of associate professor or higher. This is not a position that you can just step into as soon as you graduate with a doctoral degree. A Ph.D is a necessity for such a position and the process to attain this degree is a lengthy one. Aspirations to be hired as a university professor must be uppermost in your mind when you are doing your Bachelor’s degree as most Master’s degree program require an Honors undergraduate degree. This means you need to have a high grade point average. AS part of your studies for the Ph.D you do have to write a dissertation.
In order to receive tenure as a full time faculty member there are certain requirements that you must meet. This includes the publication of scholarly writings, either as textbooks or in academic magazines. Most of the professors at the university level work their way up through the ranks, starting off as lecturers and then advancing through the assistant professor rank. Both the lecturer and assistant professor ranks are by contract only.
Lecturers are not on track for tenure, but you can get a job as a tenure track assistant professor. This means you will be hired for a three-year period during which time you teach classes, conduct research and write papers and reports for publication. At the end of the three-year period, based on you evaluations, you are usually offered a further three-year contract. At the end of the six years, if your work has been satisfactory and if there is an opening at the university, you may be offered tenure and a promotion to associate professor. Six years is the usual length of time it takes to become a full time faculty member once you are on track for tenure.
When you have a job as a full time faculty member you are responsible for teaching courses to undergraduate and graduate students. It is your responsibility to determine the course materials and outline the assignments and exams for the students. Grading the assignments and providing marks at the end of this term means that you have to meet strict deadlines. By the time you reach this status, you will have considerable teaching experience. You are also expected to attend all staff meetings, take an active part in developing professional development opportunities, attend round table discussions about your and other’s research projects and advise students about their course work and courses in general. It means that you are not subject to periodic evaluations because you have a full time contract.
As a full time faculty member you have a permanent position at the university. You can still rise in the ranks to the position of full professor, chair and distinguished professor. The only way you can lose this position is if you are found guilty of misconduct of some form or if you decide to look for a higher or comparable position at another university.