'fellow' in an academic setting / in a professional group

novice_81

Senior Member
German
Hi

Nelson is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and earned his PhD in muscle physiology from the University of Texas at Austin.

---Does it mean that Nelson graduated/completed (is a fellow) from ACSM (where he earned his M.A. degree) and then went on to study at University in Austin and there he got his doctoral degree?
 
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  • Salvage

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi

    Nelson is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and earned his PhD in muscle physiology from the University of Texas at Austin.

    ---Does it mean that Nelson graduated/completed (is a fellow) from ACSM (where he earned his M.A. degree) and then went on to study at University in Austin and there he got his doctoral degree?
    No, being a fellow in the medical world is a period of paid, post-doctoral (after your PhD/MD) study, practice, and teaching. ". . .is a fellow of . . ." indicates that Nelson is currently serving a fellowship at that institution.

    The PhD is past tense, so he has received his PhD degree from UTA in the past, and is now a fellow at the ACSM.

    You typically don't get a degree for a fellowship. You simply complete a fellowship. The fellowship would be in an area of specialization. So, if the fellowship was completed the text would read something like "Nelson finished/completed a fellowship at X institution."
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    If you G**gle : "American College of Sports Medicine" fellow member *and learn directly what a Member needs to do to become a Fellow. I would say he got his PhD from UofT at Austin, then became a member of ACSM and was subsequently "promoted" to Fellow. Fellow is usually an elevated position and frequently requires review/endorsement/support from peers for a body of accomplishment(s).

    *From the link - this is one of the "Purposes of ASCM Fellowship.
    "To recognize professional achievement and competence in the related disciplines of sports medicine via education,published works, professional practice and a demonstrated interest in and/or contribution to the goals of sports medicine. Persons applying for Fellow status should have demonstrated a high level of competence and ethical conduct with acceptable knowledge of the principles and practices of sports medicine."
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Note that the Fellowship that Salvage refers to is a temporary period of work beyond a Ph.D. (or similar). Once that is completed one is no longer a "Fellow". I completed two "Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships" after my Ph. D. and before I obtained a non-academic job. In the jargon, I was a "Post-Doc" but I was not a "Fellow" in the sense used by the ACSM and other institutions.
     

    novice_81

    Senior Member
    German
    Hi

    So he was "A graduate student appointed to a position granting financial aid and providing for further study." And now he has probably completed his fellowship, which means he is no longer a fellow and now works as an associate professor at Louisiana University (this is what the text says ). In other words once he got his doctoral degree he received a kind of "scholarship" which is called "fellowship" and when he completed the latter he became an associate professor. Am I on the right track?
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    The American College of Sports Medicine is not an academic institution; it is a professional group. A "fellow" in a organization like ACSM is basically like a senior member of the professional group. Other organizations that I am aware of, such as the American Heart Association, also have "fellows." A "fellow" of an organization or group like ACSM or AHA does not work there, does not get paid, does not have any duties or assignments and in general is simply a member, although an honored member, of the organization. (THere are other types of fellows in academic instutitions, but ACSM is not an academic institution.)

    In response to Novice's question above, no this is not correct. He did not receive a scholarship or fellowship from ACSM and he did not "complete" a fellowship. Once you have been made a fellow of an organization like ACSM or AHA, you simply remain a fellow for life, or at least for as long as you pay your dues. It has nothing to do with your academic career at all.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I see. So he was, and probably still is an honored MEMBER of this institution and nothing else.
    Thanks
    No, still not quite right! Please (re-)read the link in Post #4 - it describes EXACTLY what it means. There's also a .pdf in that link to illustrate the application process and requirements/qualifications to become a "Fellow"
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    THe ACSM is simply a professional society. It is not an academic institution of any kind. It has annual meetings and probably puts out a professional journal. This guy is a dues-paying member of a professional society. However that society has honored him by giving him a title of "fellow" rather than just an ordinary "member" because of the basis of his record he has made excellent contributions to the field. Usually this means that he has to pay higher membership dues than a regular member would pay.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    " I see. So he was, and probably still is an honored MEMBER of this institution and nothing else." I read this as being not very complimentary (a bit like saying "President Obama is just an elected government official and nothing else"). I know nothing of the ACSM and how well a member must meet the listed criteria to be recognised with the honor of Fellow. It may only take a few $ under the table to the right people or it may be a coveted honor that truly rewards excellence and accomplishment.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    It's probably not something you bribe people for. Usually if you have been professionally active in a field, have the right kind of training, some publications, some service to the profession (been on committees, chaired workshops, given talks) and can find a few people who are willing to vouch for you, you can be a Fellow. So, it's good to be a fellow of these kind of organizations, but I probably wouldn't go so far as to describe it as a "coveted honor." I would imagine there are quite a few fellows of ACSM. It's good and shows that you are receiving professional recognition, though. Of course usually it also means that you pay higher dues that a regular member does!

    Just to get back to the orignal question, all this is true for being a Fellow of the ACSM, but there are lots of other kinds of fellows too that would be quite different.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I was trying to describe the possible range for what Fellows of "organizations" might take :D I agree with you in your assessment of what a Fellow of ACSM likely represents so novice81 has a pretty good idea about this "Nelson" fellow, errr, I mean chap.
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    In American English a "fellow" of a professional association is a full member thereof; that's all. The term seems to go along with those associations that are called "colleges" in their formal name: American College of Surgeons, American College of Sports Medicine, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists... I don't know if any non-medical associations use these terms.

    In the context give in the opening post, "fellow" is synonymous with "member".
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Just to follow up on Nunty's observation, the ACSM is not a medical organization in the sense that the American College of Surgeons is, and pretty much anyone can join ACSM. "Professional membership is open to anyone who has earned a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree at an accredited institution in a field related to health, physical education or exercise science; or, anyone who has earned at least a bachelor's degree in another area, but is working in a field related to sports medicine or exercise science." So membership in ACSM does not indicate that anyone has reviewed your qualifications or that you meet any particular standards to speak of. And being an ACSM "fellow" more or less means that you want to participate professionally at a higher level within ACSM. It doesn't mean that you are considered qualified to treat anyone and you don't have to be a physician to be a fellow.

    This is quite different from membership/fellowship of the American College of Surgeons which does mean that they consider you a qualified surgeon.

    I think the bottom line is that if you are not familiar with the organization, you have to check to find out what "fellow" means in that particular context.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    In the context give in the opening post, "fellow" is synonymous with "member".
    With such a comment, you seem to suggest that there's no difference between the two. If you read the specifics of the Fellowship program at ACSM, you will see that there is a process of peer evaluation of the member and their record of participation and accomplishments in a variety of areas that occurs before the governing body "recognizes" a member as a Fellow of the college. Someone may join ACSM with modest qualifications, say right after finishing their first University degree, but their CV will look quite different from someone who has worked in the field for a while and has been recognized for their contributions and accomplishments. I don't think that comparison is what the word "synonymous" means.

    As kalamazoo says : I think the bottom line is that if you are not familiar with the organization, you have to check to find out what "fellow" means in that particular context.
     

    kalamazoo

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I agree with Julian. In the context of the original post, being a "fellow" of ACSM indicates a higher level of qualification than being a "member" of ACSM and that you have received some kind of professional recognition from the society, beyond simple membership.
     
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