Discussion in 'English Only' started by maraki35605, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. maraki35605 Senior Member

    Greece, Greek
    According to COBUILD dictionary an instructor is a university teacher of low rank in american english.

    Is there another word to describe the same thing in British English or do they use the same one?

    Thank you!
  2. Muwahid

    Muwahid Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Instructor is a general term, used for anyone who instructs. I never heard it used for a university teach of a low rank in my life.
  3. maraki35605 Senior Member

    Greece, Greek
    How then would you refer to a low rank university teacher with one word?
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    From the US Bureau of Labour Statistics:
    The ranks are instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Colleges and universities usually hire new tenure-track faculty as instructors or assistant professors under term contracts.
    In the UK, the term is also used, especially in disciplines that have practical content. For example, see the reference to Dental Instructors at Newcastle University HERE and to EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Instructors at Durham University HERE.
  5. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    But for more academic subjects, the junior teachers would normally be called lecturers. In specific fields, such as human anatomy and chemistry, the dissection room or laboratory practical teachers are called demonstrators.
  6. maraki35605 Senior Member

    Greece, Greek
    thank you for your contribution. It was very helpful to me.
  7. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Additionally, at least in my day, some classes were led by teaching assistants, (graduate students) familiarly called TAs (tee-aze). See HERE.

    Note, however, that no matter what the level of the person grading your papers, they all will severely penalize you for failing to capitalize American English.
  8. DaleKC New Member

    English - USA
    I hate to think that I'm of 'low rank.'

    My understanding has been that an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor are 'tenure track' positions.

    The Lecturer and Instructor should not anticipate receiving tenure at their current University or College.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2017
  9. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Most of the time, Assistant Professor is a tenure track position: that is, a person in that position expects, given good performance over a certain period (typically six years) to receive tenure* and a simultaneous promotion to Associate Professor.

    Associate Professor and Professor are usually tenured positions, though a senior person could be hired into one of those ranks on a tenure-track basis. In that case, receiving tenure does not automatically come with promotion.

    Any of these ranks can also be given on a non-tenure-track basis. In that case, the rank is often preceded by a term such as "Visiting."

    The term "instructor" can be used as a generic term for any teacher, but the possibility of confusing it with the lowest faculty rank means that it isn't generally used that way. If you need a generic term for any teacher, "faculty member" is a good one to use.

    *Tenure is essentially a guarantee of employment until retirement age, given continued good performance. Tenure can usually be revoked for poor performance, for various professional offenses, and if the university eliminates the professor's entire program or department. Also, a few colleges and universities (including some very good ones) do not use the tenure system. They generally give faculty members long-term, such as five-year, contracts.
  10. kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    I think the point about the generality of instructor is that it can be used outside the purely academic setting. For instance, you take flying lessons from a flight instructor and driving lessons from a driving instructor. "Tenure track" distinctions are meaningless in that setting.

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