Faculty (academic staff)

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Faculty panel during a Foundation for Economic Education seminar

In North American Englishfaculty is the academic staff of a university: senior teacherslecturers, 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, usuallytenured (or tenure-track) in terms of their contract of employment.

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 be absent from the campus during the summer vacation, 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’.

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 to describe their instructors, but this does not hold the same status as a professor in a university. Other institutions (e.g., teaching hospitals) may likewise use the term faculty.

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 usage, in which all employees of the institution are staff either on academic or professional (i.e. non-academic) contracts. In other countries, where English is not spoken, the term “faculty” may not be used at all.



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