Faculty (academic staff)

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In North American English, faculty is the academic staff of a university: senior teachers, lecturers, and/or researchers. The term is most commonly used in this context in the United States and Canada, and generally includes professors of various rank: assistant professors, associate professors, and (full) professors, usually tenured (or tenure-track) in terms of their contract of employment.

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Members of university administration (e.g., department chairs, deans, vice presidents, presidents, and librarians) are often also faculty members, in many cases beginning (and remaining) as professors. In some universities, the distinction between 'academic faculty' and 'administrative faculty' is made explicit by the former being contracted for nine months per year, meaning that they can devote their time to research (and possibly be absent from the campus) during the summer months, while the latter are contracted for twelve months per year. These two types of faculty status are sometimes known as 'nine-month faculty' and 'twelve-month faculty'. Faculty who are paid a nine-month salary are typically allowed to seek external funds from grant agencies to partially or fully support their research activities during the summer months.

Most university faculty members hold a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate degree. Some professionals or instructors from other institutions who are associated with a particular university (e.g., by teaching some courses or supervising graduate students) but do not hold professorships may be appointed as adjunct faculty.

Other than universities, some community colleges and secondary or primary schools use the terms faculty and professor. Other institutions (e.g., teaching hospitals) may likewise use the term faculty. In countries like the Philippines, faculty is used more broadly to refer to teaching staff of either a basic or higher education institution.

In North America, faculty is a distinct category from staff, although members of both groups are employees of the institution in question. This is distinct from, for example, the British (and European) usage, in which all employees of the institution are staff either on academic or professional (i.e. non-academic) contracts.

The term faculty in the British context is used to refer to a collection of related academic departments (e.g. Politics, History, Economics and Sociology departments may be under the Faculty of Social Sciences) in a particular university, as compared to the "Department of Medicine," which usually stands on its own.. In other countries, where English is not spoken, the term "faculty" may not be used at all.

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