I need a(nother) job title
September 3, 2014 6:00 PM   Subscribe

I am an academic in a small program at an Australian university. My official title is Senior Lecturer. The head of our research group would like me to come up with an extra role description/job title for myself to encapsulate the responsibilities I take on within our group. I have two main responsibilities: building research connections and collaborations across different departments in the university, and developing our new MA programme. With that in mind, what could an appropriate title be?

The head of our group said that ideally I would be "Deputy Director" of the group, but apparently university rules say that groups can't have "directors". Only centres can have directors. So I can't use the term "director" in the title.

I also want to avoid terms like "facilitator" or "coordinator" since they generally get used for non-academic staff, and being female, I get mistaken for administrative support staff often enough already. I'm not sure I really want to highlight my teaching responsibilities in the title either, as teaching tends to get less respect than research and I don't want to get pigeonholed as the person who doesn't do the research (which wouldn't be accurate, anyway).

Our group already has the following role titles for other people:
Research Coordinator
Research Projects Officer
Research and Technical Development Manager
Operations Manager
International Liaison

(All of these apart from the last one are non-academic staff.)
posted by lollusc to Work & Money (13 answers total)
I've sees these sorts of things be "Associate Chair" for example you could be "Associate Chair, Program Development." That's obviously something the university might have rules about, too, though. I've also seen regular titles followed by "in charge of," which might make you "Senior lecturer in charge of program development."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:09 PM on September 3, 2014

What is the title of the head of the group? Can you be deputy whatever that is? Like "deputy head"?
posted by grouse at 6:43 PM on September 3, 2014

He doesn't have a title yet either. I think he's considering "group leader" (which sounds kind of North Korean to me, but whatever...) I don't think I want to be "deputy group leader", although that is better than anything else I've come up with so far.

And I'm pretty sure there would be rules about "chair". Chair sounds like something endowed.
posted by lollusc at 7:06 PM on September 3, 2014

Network Guru and MAster Programmer.

... I like penguin's answer, personally.
posted by linear_arborescent_thought at 7:23 PM on September 3, 2014

International Research Liaison.
posted by gaspode at 7:43 PM on September 3, 2014

Liaison for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Studies.

(Or, to emulate your head's totalitarian flair: Collaborationist Re-education Czar.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:52 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Mix-and-Match :
[Future] Development Officer
[Senior] Concept Lead
Intra-University [Research] Liaison
[Chief] Programme Design
Arse-Kicker and Name Taker!

posted by dangerousdan at 11:10 PM on September 3, 2014

Heh, to expand the range of suggestions I pulled out a thesaurus and started looking for synonyms for some of your titles.

liason = embarrassment, shenanigans,
chair = commander, top brass, president, kingpin
development = ontogenesis, chrysallis

Now I want to be the "Chief Interdisciplinary Research Embarrassment" or the "Kingpin of Programme Ontogenesis."

(And this is why I have to turn to Metafilter instead of inventing my own job titles.)
posted by lollusc at 11:24 PM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

I understand why you don't want to emphasize the teaching so much but I think keeping Senior Lecturer is kind of important. It signals clearly where you are in the academic hierarchy. I've worked in academia in NZ, Ireland and Germany and in all those places we would know what that is, you're not a professor but that's where you're headed and you teach and probably do research. I don't know what all those other things are and I would assume they're not on the academic track.

I also like, and have seen, the 'in charge of' addition. Program development is good but it keeps the focus on teaching only. I think your research skills are also important. So I'd use Senior Lecturer in charge of Research and Program Development (or maybe just Research Development). Maybe with the addition of "for department xxx" if that helps make it clearer. I know this is kind of unwieldy, you can put them in two lines on your business card if that helps.

The alternative is to use two titles, Senior Lecturer, Research Development Officer (or whatever). Which is just as unwieldy and, I think, less clear.
posted by shelleycat at 11:49 PM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

The problem is that your 3 responsibilities - lecturer, research liaison and program coordinator - are different roles that aren't necessarily related in any way.

You can:

1) Search LinkedIn for people with similar responsibilities and get inspired by their job titles.

2) Follow the head of the group's intuition in choosing a general, non-specific title that's more descriptive about rank than responsibility. This would need to be relative to the hierarchy at your university

3) Mix and match some of the other suggestions given here
posted by jshare at 12:01 AM on September 4, 2014

It's pretty common to have additional titles like this as an academic. I am an SL myself but have also been a course director/programme leader, am currently both admissions officer and library liaison. You are always an SL in communications but should use the other titles as well when dealing with specific issues.

Your institution will have other people in similar roles to you, funds or what they are called and use those titles, that makes or easier for everyone else to find you if they are looking for the person with that role.
posted by biffa at 12:20 AM on September 4, 2014

To clarify, the new title is in addition to senior lecturer, not instead of it. It's as biffa describes.
posted by lollusc at 7:19 AM on September 4, 2014

What about chair of a committee? Surely they don't make the people who lead committees take some sort of different title.

"Group Leader" is not uncommon for the head of a research group in Europe.

Some options:

Chair, Research Committee
Deputy Group Leader (or Associate Group Leader/Senior Associate Group Leader/etc)
Principal, Research
Lead, Research

I think Deputy Group Leader (or Deputy whatever their title is) is probably the best title to have. It makes it clear that you are the #2 person in the group in a way I don't think anything else would.
posted by grouse at 10:08 AM on September 4, 2014

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