What are some hierarchical terms for academics or researchers?
June 18, 2010 6:37 PM   Subscribe

What are some hierarchical terms for academics or researchers?

I'm looking for a set of terms that convey an implied hierarchy of academic achievement, like (neophyte, acolyte, elder ) or (adjunct prof, assistant prof, tenured). Obscure and interesting words would be better for my purposes than everyday words, but it's more important that they fit a linear hierarchy than they be obscure.
posted by Mr. Gunn to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: List of Academic Ranks
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:41 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: For US universities or UK? Tenure-track or non?

Associate Professor
Research Professor
Visiting Assistant Professor
Faculty Associate
Distinguished Professor (or an endowed Chair)
Collegiate Assistant Professor
Professor Emeritus (for the retired)
posted by Pamelayne at 7:29 PM on June 18, 2010

In R&D situations people are often given titles like Researcher, Engineer, Scientist often with phrases like "Senior", "Principle", "Senior Research" etc. before them that are standardized within companies but not between them.

One strange (to outsiders) is to just call such people Member of the Technical Staff (who are distinct from low level support staff such as assistants, technicians, machinists, and people involved in things like Human Resources). MTSs sometimes get preceding phrases to denote their rank, but often they are just given level numbers - i.e a MTS II is one step up from an MTS I and often has the responsibility of technically supervising MTS Is, while being managed by a MTS III. In such a situation the MTS is often dropped and the word "level" used instead. Thus one could hear about a meeting that included a level 4, 2 level 3s, and 4 level 2s. The head of a big company might be a level 7 or 8 (I forget the particulars).

Since such companies are often involved in defense contracting there is an implicit correspondence between military ranks and MTS levels so that say when a Lt. Colonel drops by, people at the corresponding and higher level are involved.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:27 PM on June 18, 2010

"Principal", not "Principle".
posted by gene_machine at 2:40 AM on June 19, 2010

Best answer: Oxford is the best place to go looking for obscure forms of academic hierarchy. Merton College has Exhibitioners and Postmasters. All Souls College has Examination Fellows, Extraordinary Research Fellows and Fifty-Pound Fellows. Heads of Houses are known as Masters, Wardens, Principals, Deans, Rectors, Presidents or Provosts, depending on the college. It's possible to start as a Junior Research Fellow (very lowly), rise through the ranks of Tutor, Praelector, Lecturer, Reader, Professor, and end up as a Senior Research Fellow (highly distinguished).

In the Bodleian Library, the entrance to the lavatories just says 'READERS' on the door. One visiting academic is said to have asked: 'Where are the ones for professors?'
posted by verstegan at 5:24 AM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. My favorite from that Wikipedia entry is the Dutch/Norwegian one: Hoogleraar. Sounds so much like Grand Poobah.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:12 AM on June 19, 2010

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