Difference Between Adjunct and Associate Professor

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: November 01, 2023

       

Difference Between Adjunct and Associate Professor

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Introduction

In this article, we will discuss the difference between two important teaching designations, which are Adjunct Professor and Associate Professor. The main job of any professor is to enlighten the students and broaden their knowledge by sharing their understanding. Both associate and adjunct professors do the job of imparting all the important knowledge to the students, but based on their job benefits and tenure, the designation between the two changes drastically. Talking about Adjunct Professors, there are a few ways to differentiate them from Associate Professors. Adjunct professors are all part-time faculty members with no tenure track or experience. Adjunct professors generally have fewer responsibilities, are trained to be professors, are focused on teaching, and are not required to conduct research or serve on committees. In a simple sense, we can say that an Adjunct professor is someone who a college or university hires especially to impart knowledge to the students for a particular subject or course, unlike associate professors who are a part of the college faculty let’s understand the role of associate professors further.

Associate professors are permanent faculty members of teachers in an institute like a college or a University and have a fixed, secure tenure and hold a permanent designation in the institute. The Associate professors hold ranks that are just below that of the Professor and have a good few years of experience at times. They teach the fixed course that is mentioned in their job description. These are also often required to coordinate college societies, do research and guide students in their projects and work, they serve in committees too. They have more responsibility and accountability towards the institute than the adjunct professor. Associate professors are also called senior lecturers and are often given this designation soon after entering a teaching institute. Associate Professors at the time were required to at least have a doctoral degree to be eligible for the position.

Adjunct Professor Vs Associate Professor

The key difference between the two designations of Adjunct and Associate Professor is all based on their tenure and responsibilities. An adjunct professor is a lot like a part-time instructor, whereas an associate professor is a full-time teacher. Adjunct professors are not granted a fixed tenure and other benefits, whereas associate professors typically enjoy all the benefits of a permanent job. The roles of adjunct and associate professors can be very different in terms of workload, pay, and benefits as well, just as mentioned. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between these two positions before applying for a job as an adjunct professor or Associate professor mainly because when it comes to, adjunct professors only teach a couple of specific courses after being invited by the institution to do so whereas an Associate professor is the one teaching they are working as a permanent part of the faulty doing their job to teach under there per agreed a contract.

Difference Between Adjunct and Associate Professor in Tabular Form

ParametersAdjunct ProfessorAssociate Professor
DefinitionAdjunct professors are all part-time faculty members with no tenure track or experience. Adjunct professors generally have fewer responsibilities, are trained to be professors, are focused on teaching, and are not required to conduct research or serve on committees. In a simple sense, we can say that an Adjunct professor is someone who is hired by a college or university especially, to impart knowledge to the students for a particular subject or course.Associate professors are permanent faculty members of teachers in an institute like a college or a University and have a fixed, secure tenure and hold a permanent designation in the institute. The Associate professors hold ranks that are just below that of the Professor and have a good few years of experience at times. They teach the fixed course that is mentioned in their job description. These are also often required to coordinate college societies, do research and guide students in their projects and work, they serve in committees too. They have more responsibility and accountability towards the institute
TenureThe tenure of an Adjunct Professor is not very long until the course that the adjunct professor is teaching finishes. This is not a long-term job, so the tenures are short.The tenure of an Associate Professor is more long term they are a part of the faculty of the college or university and the tenure depends mostly on their quality of work and relevance at the job.
ResponsibilitiesThe job of an adjunct Professor is short and so their responsibilities are constricted to pretty much just teaching and in comparison to the Associate Professor these are less.The job of an Associate Professor is encompassed with more responsibilities as apart from being an instructor, they are supposed to work on research, guide students and be a part of different college committees to guide different students.
QualificationIn most cases the Adjunct Professors have at least a doctorate and although it is not necessary as these are especially invited individuals by the college or institute based on their responsibilities and not their educational qualifications/The Associate Professor is supposed to meet an eligible criterion of qualifications to become a person with the designation Associate Professor they usually have a doctorate and sometimes even experience in their respective field or the area of teaching.
BenefitsAdjunct professors are generally not provided with any extra benefits apart from their salary based on the number of hours they teach as the tenure is not permanent there is no other benefit provided.Associate Professors with their permanent tenure have more benefits that come with their higher designation as they are at times offered institutional accommodations and other medical benefits if it is a medical college etc.
Working hoursAdjunct Professors have more flexible working hours and the timings of their classes change as per their preference these have a flexible schedule as they juggle two jobs. Most of the adjunct professors also have other jobs apart from teaching.Associate Professors have less flexible work schedules they set their classes in routine as one they take more classes than adjunct professors and two, this is their permanent job and they have other responsibilities like research and committesss etc.

What is an Adjunct Professor?

An Adjunct professor is a temporary faculty member who is generally hired only to teach one or more courses for a semester or so. Unlike tenure-track professors or Associate Professors, adjuncts are not on the path to earning tenure at the university. Adjuncts typically hold other jobs with teaching being part-time, and they do not have the same job security or benefits as tenure-track Associate professors. The adjunct Professors have at least a doctorate, although it is not necessary as these are especially invited individuals by the college or institute based on their responsibilities and not their educational qualifications.

However, adjuncts can be a valuable asset to a university because they bring real-world experience to the classroom; these people have practical knowledge of the field that they are teaching the students about, which helps in giving a practical outlook to the budding mids in the classroom. Adjunct professors are generally not provided with any extra benefits apart from their salary based on the number of hours they teach as the tenure is not permanent there is no other benefit provided. Adjuncts also often have more flexible schedules than tenure-track faculty, which can make them more available to students outside of class, like they can fix an after-class counseling session. In the past few post-pandemic years. The use of adjunct professors has become increasingly common in universities as they do not enjoy added benefits like Associate professors and are paid less too, which helps universities in saving money.

What is an Associate Professor?

Associate Professor is a designation given to someone who is a teaching faculty member at a college or university. This person typically is highly qualified and has a PhD, though in some cases, an important degree in their field may be sufficient as there may not be a need for a doctorate to teach the specific course this depends on the institution’s guidelines whether there is a need for high qualification or not. Associate Professors generally teach lower-level courses and may also serve as department heads. They are part of the faculty of the institute, but this is the starting position offered to any person working as a professor permanently. They are usually lacking much research experience and teaching experience as full professors. Associate professors typically have more teaching experience than assistant professors though as they have worked prior in the same field further many added responsibilities come with being an associate professor, as they are supposed to council students and look into the functioning of various committees and are at times also a part of the research committee. They also work on the limitations that may be prevalent in the curriculum and highlight them to the institute in their reports.

The job of an associate professor is a permanent one, which speaks volumes in itself as these have higher pay and different added benefits, unlike Adjunct professors. Associate Professors with their permanent tenure have more benefits that come with their higher designation as they are at times offered institutional accommodations and other medical benefits if it is a medical college etc. this being a permanent job has a different work dynamics as the working hours are longer than adjunct professors like Associate Professors have less flexible work schedules they set their classes in routine as one they take more classes than adjunct professors and two, this is their permanent job and they have other responsibilities like research and commits etc.

Main Difference Between Adjunct and Associate Professor in Points

  • Roles: The role of an Adjunct professor is very limited. They are supposed to teach the course that they have been signed up for to the best of their abilities, and they generally do not have to cater to anything other than that, as this is a part-time job, it is not their responsibility to guide the students and cater their academic needs though they are supposed to give more of a practical view to the students. Further, the Associate professors have a broader role to play as they are supposed to guide students and counsel them. Apart from teaching them the designated course. Their job description is very broad, and their role is more of a guide than a teacher.
  • Pay: as we have established in the past several times that the job of an associate professor is permanent and the job of an adjunct professor does not become easy to understand for us that the pay of an associate professor will be more than that of an adjunct professor also there are no added benefits given to an adjunct professor that is given to an associate professor.
  • Practical experience: the adjunct professors have another job apart from their teaching job, which is in the field that they are making students aware of. The adjunct professors are more adapted to the field and are aware of the present conditions and thus have better knowledge and practical experience. Compared to this, Associate Professors may at times have less practical experience than the Adjunct professor as teaching is their permanent job and their time in the field was in the past.

Conclusion

In this article, we have been able to evaluate, the significant differences between associate and adjunct professor and their responsibilities. This has helped in understand the importance of both them and helped us to understand which one to prefer when looking at it from a job perspective depending on personal preference and requirements, this has also shed light on the importance of professors no matter the designation and how different designations of can make a difference in their manner of teaching and their commitment to the institute. This article has further helped in establishing the different roles present in educational institutes and the roles they play.


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"Difference Between Adjunct and Associate Professor." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 20 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-adjunct-and-associate-professor>.



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