Associate Professor title

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by George Brown, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Lets say a university lecturer (who did not hold a PhD) had the title of Associate Professor at the university, but then left and went into private practice, consulting etc. Can they still use the title 'Associate Professor'?


  2. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    Should they? No.

    No law against it - like former members of Congress or Ambassadors continuing to refer to themselves by their former title.
  3. JamesK

    JamesK New Member

    Probably only if the awarding institution allows them to keep the title (the individual in question would probably need a very good research and possibly teaching record)

    Are you referring to an Associate Professor in the American sense or an Associate Professor in the Australian/UK sense?
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    What Jim said. Can? Sure. Should? Probably not.

    Unlike a degree, a professorship is a job title that goes away when the job does. That's why they have "professor emeritus," which is a title carried forward for life.

    Here's a link to a story about the Germans' obsession with titles:

    Bahrain Daily News (based on a Reuters Article)

    You can access a more complete version at Yahoo News (under Odd News). I tried to post the link here, but the link didn't work.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2005
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I've seen people do it. I would tend to look the other way if their Professor title was from tenure. I only ever used the title while I had active contracts and actually was a professor (and expected to be addressed by it as per school protocol). Since it was not the result of tenure, I didn't feel even for a moment that it was appropriate to carry the title beyond that role -- or outside the context of teaching.

    But like I say -- I've seen others carry the title past their role. In North American usage, I would expect only the emeritus grantee to carry the title past active professorship, tenured or not.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    In the Iranian community, the title "Doctor" is like sainthood. I've even heard the spouse of a doctorate holder referred to as "doktor-qaanom" which means "Doctor's Wife" (sort of like how my wife is granted the honorific "Lady" even though I'm the title holder).

    I think cultural context determines everything. In Iranian culture, women of a certain generation refer to their husband's by their last names, even when being intimate. I was often called "Jaksen" by my close personal friends. It really depends on the crowd one is in when it comes to appropriate usage. No one size fits all.
  7. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Cheers, thanks to all for comments.

  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    George, your mailbox is full. The answer to your question:

    Go to Yahoo at

    Click "News" at the top of the page.

    Click "Odd News" at the top of the page.

    Scroll down to "Germans prefer letters after name to love or money " and click.

    That should do it. There wasn't much more than that. The original Reuters article is at:

    The answer to mine is the British option. 'Nuff said.;)
  9. George Brown

    George Brown New Member

    Thanks mate - cleared the box now. Cheers for the directions.

  10. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    No, the person cannot use the title "associate professor" if they are no longer affiliated with the university. Rich Douglas is correct. That would be akin to someone who held the postion of Chief Business Officer at a company, left the company and continued to use the title "Chief Business Officer".

    Professor Emeritus is a title given to those who retire after having worked at the university for some time (at least ten years at most universities). That person can continue to use the title "Professor Emeritus".
  11. Bill Hurd

    Bill Hurd New Member

    When I was new in the Air Force we would occasionally hear the base commander's wife refer to herself as Colonel Mrs. Smyth.

    The younger officer's wives laughed at her behind her back.
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Watering down the word "professor"

    My pet peeve is with those who seem to think that one is a "professor" just because one is giving instruction at a college or university. A professor is not someone who moonlights as an adjunct instructor at a community college or for-profit McUniversity. A professor is someone who follows up their doctoral work with continued scholarly research and teaching as part of a university's full-time faculty.

    Perhaps I'm old fashioned?

  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Watering down the word "professor"

    No -- you're just using the title in the classical sense. Maybe what you consider a true professor will have to be re-engineered and renamed to some new title, to accomodate the new freer usage of "professor" (which many would call "lecturer").

    Wiki has a nice piece on all this:
  14. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    That's really "Odd News"!
    Particularly since i know parts of the original survey! You can find an article about it here:,,965908-44,00.html

    "Life aims mirror situation in Germany
    The developments in the labor market are leaving their mark: 88 percent of Germans say that "good qualifications" are their key life aim. They rank them well above "finding a partner" (80 percent) and "financial security in the future and in old age" (78 percent). Only then come aims such as, "self-determination and individuality" or "having children" (75 percent each)."

    There is not a single word in this survey about titles! Yes, we Germans have some kind of obsession with titles, but that's not the point! The point is: You really need a good education to find a job. Not surprising in a country with 11 percent unemployment rate, and even around 20 percent in the former East Germany. Even the headline of the original Reuters Article (quote: "Germans prefer letters after name") is a little bit strange. German academic titles (and almost all other German titles) are normally pre-nominal!

    But, back to the topic. The title of professor in continental is not really a job title.
    [quote from wikipedia:] "In the Continental European system, the different fields and sub-fields of teaching and research are allotted certain (professorial) chairs, and one can only become a professor if one is appointed to such a chair (which then has to be free, i.e., unoccupied, of course)." The title 'professor' is conected to the chair. However, a German professor, who holds his title (and chair) for 5 years or longer receives normally a permission to use the title after leaving the university. It's illegal to use the title without such permission.

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2005
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Okay. So what?
  16. Anthony Pina

    Anthony Pina Active Member

    Re: Watering down the word "professor"

    At most universities, "professor" is an academic rank for a tenure-track faculty member who has been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor and, finally to professor (AKA "full professor). At many U.S. universities, non tenure-track faculty are called "instructor" or "lecturer," rather than professor. Non-U.S. institutions often use "Lecturer" or "Senior Lecturer" for full-time faculty. Some universities call their adjunct (part-time) faculty "adjunct professor," but most do not.

    Thankfully, my university has dropped the title "Visiting Lecturer" for our non-tenure track faculty (one could be "visiting" for several years).

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