Academic ranks (Australia and New Zealand)

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This article is about academic ranks in higher education in Australia and New Zealand.

Overview[edit]

The system of academic titles and ranks in Australia follows the British system. There are five levels, A-E. These are:

  • Level A - Tutor
  • Level B - Lecturer
  • Level C - Senior Lecturer
  • Level D - Reader/Associate Professor
  • Level E - Professor

These levels correspond to salary levels set by the Australian government's Higher education Academic Salaries Award (2002). There has been a significant increase in academics at level D and E (Associate professor and professor) in recent years. The number of academics at these levels increased by 70% from 1996 to 2008.

In order to receive the title of professor, the applicant must pass each university's minimum standards statements and promotion policies, which are derived from the Higher education Academic Salaries award. Three key attributes are examined: recognition, distinction and leadership. Leadership in research is arguably the most important. Some universities also expect leadership in developing the curriculum and in the teaching and management of staff and students.

The difference between professor and associate professor is that there is less of an imperative to demonstrate leadership qualities for the title of associate professor. Still, in order to receive the title, it is required that the applicant has made an 'outstanding contribution' and that the applicant is usually recognised at a national or international level.

In some universities, the title of professor and associate professor can also be conferred with appointment to a senior management position without the need for an extensive academic record or a research higher degree. This has been criticised. It has also been lauded.

Adjunct and conjoint professor is an honorary title bestowed upon a person to formally recognise that person's non-employment 'special relationship' with the university.

Emeritus professor is a title bestowed upon a retired person who has rendered distinguished service to the university. They have nearly always held the title of professor at the university. Half the universities in one study specified that the person needed to have served at least 10 years at the university. Some universities have other titles such as Emeritus Educator and Emeritus Scholar. Once the Emeritus Professor title is bestowed, the title is normally for life, though it can be repealed for failing to abide by university regulations.[1] [2]

Teaching and research positions[edit]

Academic positions in Australia and New Zealand can be either continuing (permanent) or fixed-term (contract) appointments. Continuing appointments at the lecturer level and above are similar to the permanent academic posts found in the United Kingdom, and generally involve a 3-5 year probationary period.

  • Professor – 'level E'. Equivalent to chair professor in most Asian countries and North American universities and to a professor of a discipline in British universities. In Australia and NZ, the number of professors is approximately 10 percent of the total number of academic staff in any given university. This rank is only given to those who have demonstrated outstanding competence and academic leadership in research, teaching, and service as well as achieving international recognition of their scholarship.
  • Associate professor – 'level D'. Equivalent to professor in most Asian countries and in North American universities.[3] Equivalent to reader in Britain. The associate professor rank is given to academics that are developing a very strong international profile and have demonstrated sustained high competence in both teaching and research.
  • Senior lecturer – 'level C'. Equivalent to associate professor in North American universities. Normally, academic staff demonstrating sustained competence in research and teaching are promoted to this rank after 4 to 6 years of service at the rank of lecturer. Most appointments at this level are 'continuing', the equivalent of North American tenure, although some temporary appointees at Level B on longer contracts may achieve promotion to Level C during their employment.
  • Lecturer - 'level B'. Equivalent to assistant professor in North American universities. This is the usual entry level appointment for new full-time academics, be they permanent or on temporary contract. Such appointments typically require a PhD to have been already awarded at the time of appointment. It is possible for a lecturer in Australasia to be on a permanent contract and complete their probation while remaining at Level B, thus attaining the equivalent of tenure.
  • Associate lecturer – 'level A' . Appointments at this level are relatively rare – most appointments that occasion a contract are at level B, making it roughly equivalent to North American positions of lecturer or instructor.

Research only positions[edit]

The Australian public service or government organisations also employ a large number of academics or researchers. Different organisations have their own established title systems (e.g., principal scientist, senior officer etc.). However, it is the level rather than the title that determines the equivalent academic rank. With Commonwealth Scientific & Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO) and most state governments,

  • Level 4, equivalent to postdoctoral fellow or associate lecturer;
  • Level 5, equivalent to lecturer or research scientist;
  • Level 6, equivalent to senior lecturer or senior scientist;
  • Level 7, equivalent to associate professor;
  • Level 8, equivalent to professor;
  • Level 9, chief.

The Western Australian state government introduced a specified calling system in 2008. Within this system,

  • SC-level 1, equivalent to postdoctoral fellow or associate lecturer;
  • SC-level 2, equivalent to lecturer or research scientist;
  • SC-level 3, equivalent to senior lecturer or senior scientist;
  • SC-level 4, equivalent to associate professor;
  • SC-level 5, equivalent to professor;
  • SC-level 6, chief.

Administrative ranks[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]