By courtesy?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lumiere137, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. lumiere137 Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    What does "by courtesy" mean in "a professor, by courtesy, of Geophysics"?
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    Could we have a complete sentence and context, please.
  3. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    Wikipedia gives a context and explanation, which I find interesting but which leaves several unanswered questions.

    A professor who is primarily and originally associated with one academic department, but has become officially associated with a second department, institute, or program within the university and has assumed a professor's duty in that second department as well, could be called a "professor by courtesy." Example: "Joshua H. Alman is Professor of Law and Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics at Stanford University".

    We often use the expression "courtesy title" in English, which may be relevant to the question.
    However, after reading the above, I would like to know from an AE speaker more about the background and reasons for this duplication of duties in two departments. How common is it? How can someone be a professor of both law and genetics? Does such a person know a lot about the subject (here genetics), for example?
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  4. zbwsb

    zbwsb Senior Member

    (by) courtesy of
    by permission of Phil Collins appears on the album courtesy of Virgin Records.

    because of Did the Conservatives win courtesy of the division of the opposition vote between Labour and the Liberal Democrats?

    Dude, look up dictionaries.
  5. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    A dictionary would not be very helpful for anyone wanting to know the meannig of the expression quoted by lumiere. You have also given two different uses of courtesy, which just confuses things.
  6. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Although not an AE speaker, I understand the concept. Genetics provides a very good example of an academic discipline where related legal knowledge is important, so I can understand why a genetics department might have a series of lectures delivered by a professor from a law department. I do not think a British university would award a second professorship in this context, but there are substantial differences in the meaning of "professor" in British and American universities. I think we would describe him as a professor in the faculty of law and a visiting lecturer in the faculty of medical science.
  7. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I've never heard the phrase "professor by courtesy".
  8. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    Me neither, but I've been out of academia for a while. Joint appointments are not unknown in American universities. I'll bet a Professor "by courtesy" doesn't get paid by the "by courtesy" department, but entirely by his other department; in the Wikipedia example, that he is paid entirely by the law school but has developed a speciality in genetics law which the Department of Genetics has recognized.
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    What is a courtesy professor? As it says in the Stanford University Faculty Handbook, for example, "Faculty members often make substantial contributions to departments other than their own, but in ways less formal than would justify a joint appointment. These contributions are sometimes recognized by means of courtesy appointments. There is usually no commitment of funds, space or other support involved in a courtesy appointment, and the faculty member has no voting privileges in the courtesy department."
    There is more at that page.
  10. lumiere137 Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    Thanks! Now I understand.

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