I have recently seen several positions titled something like "Senior Lecturer in [insert field]" at top notch universities such as MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, etc. The job description usually includes curriculum development for the department and advising undergraduates and early career adjuncts. The position is always full time with full benefits and usually has a fixed multi year contract with a high course load. Are such positions looked highly upon when seeking future employment? Ideally please answer the question for people with the following potential career goals (as I believe the answer would be different for each one, as I want this question to be valuable for as wide an audience as possible)

If the career goal is:

  • Tenured Professor at tier one research university
  • Tenured Professor at school that highly values research (but not a T1 research University)
  • Tenured Professor at a Liberal Arts college or state university (Wants some research but main focus is on teaching)
  • Tenured Professor at a purely teaching focussed Liberal Arts College or community college

I suspect that the position would be looked highly upon for career (4) and lowly upon (assuming you don't publish much) if career (1) is the ultimate goal. It is, however, unclear to me how these positions would be seen in an application corresponding to the middle two careers.

1 Answer 1


Lecturer positions tend to overwork you in courses such that research time is little to none. If you really want a tenure track position at a university with a research focus or semi-focus, you need to continue publishing in quality journals. If such is the case (in your scenarios 1-2), you may consider a postdoc research position instead.

If scenario 3 or 4 is your ultimate goal, get good teaching marks and recommendations is paramount and a lecturer position is ideal.

  • I think your answer is generally true. That said, some universities still want/expect teaching experience. Apr 17, 2014 at 1:25
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    I'm not so certain this is true for (3) given the more recent desires of liberal art and state schools to hire people that are actively publishing. Can you elaborate a bit more on this? Apr 17, 2014 at 2:34
  • @MHH: Ultimately, if research is a component of the job, one needs to continue publishing... But if teaching is weighted significantly higher than research, one can make due publishing in less reputable outlets and focusing on obtaining good teaching evaluations.
    – Paul
    Apr 17, 2014 at 2:38

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