Skip to main content

What Titles Mean

Hamerschlag Hall is one of the principal teach...
Hamerschlag Hall is one of the principal teaching facilities of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the 2014-15 academic year, my title will be "Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor of Business Communication." Reading this long title on my contract, I considered how labels and titles, beyond "disabled" and whatnot, shape how people view us.

And so, an analysis:

Visiting: not expected to remain; a guest; a traveler heading elsewhere.

Assistant: working to aid others.

Teaching: responsible for educating, with any research duties subordinate.

Professor: respected for past academic accomplishments.

Business Communication: specializing in workplace communication, instead of academic discourse.

The full title implies my role is to teach classes in the business school so other professors can focus on research. It is a temporary post, one that many scholars hold at an institution before locating a permanent position.

Thankfully, teaching is not dismissed or undervalued at the institution where I work, but that is a problem at many research universities. True, dedicated researchers often earn more money, but many "Research Professors" find themselves like "Teaching Professors" — without the promise of tenure or job security. The "Tenure Track" represents that mix of teacher-scholar that I enjoy. But, if asked to choose between research and teaching, I'd go with the teaching as my job. I enjoy working with students and watching them make discoveries.

Job titles convey meaning not only to others, but to the holders. The title helps me understand my role on campus. It's also valuable to understand that titles are bureaucratic, used to comply with rules, regulations, and traditions.

Outside academic settings, people use the title "professor" without the various rank and responsibility modifiers. To my neighbors and family, I'm a professor of communication, and that's it. Trying to explain academic rank resembles explaining military ranks.

As readers know, I like "writer" as my primary label, but "professor" can only increase the writing and public speaking opportunities.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Comments

  1. Does Visiting equal adjunct? Just curious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. Visiting is full-time, standard appointment, but with an expiration. Adjuncts are part-time employees, renewable at most institutions.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Comments violating the policies of this blog will not be approved for posting. Language and content should be appropriate for all readers and maintain a polite tone. Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

Autism, Asperger's, and IQ

"Aren't people with Asperger's more likely to be geniuses? Isn't genius related to autism?"

A university student asked this in a course I am teaching. The class discussion was covering neurological differences, free will, and the nature versus nurture debate. The textbook for the course includes sidebars on the brain and behavior throughout chapters on ethics and morality. This student was asking a question reflecting media portrayals of autism spectrum disorders, social skills difficulties, and genius.

I did not address this question from a personal perspective in class, but I have when speaking to groups of parents, educators, and caregivers. Some of the reasons these questions arise, as mentioned above, are media portrayals and news coverage of autism. Examples include:
Television shows with gifted characters either identified with or assumed to have autistic traits: Alphas, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Rizzoli and Isles, Touch, and others. Some would include She…

Listen… and Help Others Hear

We lack diversity in the autism community.

Think about what you see, online and in the media. I see upper-middle class parents, able to afford iPads and tutors and official diagnoses. I see parents who have the resources to fight for IEPs and physical accommodations.

I see self-advocacy leadership that has been fortunate (and hard working, certainly) to attend universities, travel the nation (or even internationally), and have forums that reach thousands.

What I don't see? Most of our actual community. The real community that represents autism's downsides. The marginalized communities, ignored and excluded from our boards, our commissions, our business networks.

How did my lower-income parents, without college educations, give me a chance to be more? How did they fight the odds? They did, and now I am in a position of privilege. But I don't seem to be making much of a difference.

Demand that your charities seek out the broadest possible array of advisers and board members.…

Life Updates: The MFA Sprint

Life is okay, if more than a little hectic at the end of this first month.

With one month down, I'm 11 months away from my MFA in Film and Digital Technology. Though things might happen and things do go wrong, so far I'm on schedule and things are going well —— though I'm exhausted and working harder than I did for any other degree. Because the MFA requires projects every week, this isn't as easy to schedule as writing. Even researching a paper can be done from the comfort of home, at any hour.

You cannot make movies by yourself, at any time of day. It doesn't work that way. Filming takes time, and often requires a team of people. It's not comparable to working alone on a degree in writing or rhetoric.

The team-based nature of film is exhausting for me, but I enjoy the results. I also like the practical nature of the skills being taught. You either learn how to adjust ISO, f/Stop, shutter speed, and other variables or you don't. You can have theories …