LINGUIST List 12.827

Sun Mar 25 2001

Disc: New: The Role of Lecturers in Universities

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Alain Th�riault, What is the role of a lecturer?

Message 1: What is the role of a lecturer?

Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 08:27:28 -0400
From: Alain Th�riault <theriaalMAGELLAN.UMontreal.CA>
Subject: What is the role of a lecturer?

	I just read a posting for a lecturer position on the list. 
It seems to confirm some observations I have made over the last few 
years, observations that I shared with a few colleagues and 
professors. It looks like universities are trying to hire lecturers 
as if they were trying to fill up tenure positions.
One can see more and more universities looking for people holding a 
Ph.D. with great teaching and research experience to teach at both 
undergraduate and graduate levels. I haven't seen any that would 
include the supervision of graduate students, but I wouldn't be 
surprise to see this in a near future. I seem to remember seeing 
positions for teaching assistants demanding a Ph.D...
	What is the role of a lecturer? I was under the impression 
that the responsibility of a lecturer was to teach within his/her 
field of specialization. This "job" was introduced within the 
university system in order to offer students a greater variety of 
classes while allowing tenures to do their research. I don't know if 
this trend is common in other countries, but in Canada, a big part 
of the classes (more than 50% in some departments) are given by 
lecturers. And, by looking at the announcement I just read, 
universities are trying to select candidates that are overqualified 
(I don't see why a candidate should "have a demonstrated potential 
for and a strong commitment to research" in order to teach, nor do I 
see how this is relevant, unless the candidate is expected to do some 
research, which the job announcement doesn't mention).
 	This trend of looking for overqualified people for more and 
more precarious jobs (usually 8 to 10 months) is not only seen in 
the academic world but in many other areas as well. It fits within 
the same old circle where only experienced people are looked for and 
in order to gain experience, you have to have had some...
	I know this is a great experience but I don't think there are 
many of us who would like to contemplate a career as a lecturer, at 
least under these conditions. If universities want to have career 
lecturers, they ought make these positions more appealing as far as 
length of contracts is concerned and if they want their lecturers to 
do some research, they also ought to make it easy for them to do so 
and pay them. When a lecturer post is announced that requires research 
experience, it looks like they are looking for someone to do research 
under that university affiliation. In fact, they want to have people 
spreading the names of these universities without paying the author 
for the publicity space under the author's name... It is not the 
affiliation that makes the renown of a researcher, it is the quality 
of the work of these researchers that make, and maintain, the name of 
a University.

Any thoughts on this?

Alain Theriault
Ph.D. Student (Linguistics)
Universite de Montreal
Research Fellow
Concordia University
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue