Experience determines status of professor positions within university

SHSU currently has 20 openings for the position of assistant and/or associate professor throughout the various departments. So what exactly is the difference between an assistant professor and an associate professor? “Experience,” said Dr. Robert Lane, chair of the department of agricultural sciences, and chair of that department’s search committee. “Both positions usually require a terminal degree, but the difference is the amount of teaching experience the person brings with them.”According to SHSU Academic Policy #800722, the minimum academic requirement for appointment to the rank of assistant professor is normally the master’s degree plus 45 semester hours of graduate study, or the terminal degree, when such is different from the doctorate or special credentials.A terminal degree is the designation of the highest degree an individual can hold in their particular academic field. For some areas, the terminal degree is a doctorate; for others, the terminal degree is a master’s.”Assistant and associate professor positions mean they are on a tenure track. Someone with the same experience that is not on a tenure track could be hired as a lecturer,” Lane said. “Usually, our university will not hire someone who was an assistant or associate professor at another university, simply because we can’t pay them as much.”Although prior teaching experience is usually required for tenure track positions, Lane said a person with a terminal degree and several years of experience in the field could be considered.A professor at SHSU normally is considered for promotion after serving five and one-half years with the university either as an assistant or associate professor. Sometimes, faculty members deemed truly outstanding based on certain criteria may be promoted before that time.The academic policy also outlines four areas of consideration for promotion: teaching effectiveness, scholarly and artistic endeavor, professional growth and activities and non-teaching activities supportive of departmental, college and university programs.Other considerations are given to faculty members who are librarians.Tenure is an entitlement to continued appointment as a faculty member in accordance with outlined provisions. Academic rankings, in order, for tenure track faculty are instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor and distinguished professor.The positions of lecturer, special faculty, research faculty, visiting assistant/associate professor and visiting professor are non-tenure track appointments.

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