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She teaches a class at night and she works in the industry during the day. She has a PhD though.

Is this still called a "Visiting professor" (which I thought meant you were permanently employed at another university as opposed to a job)?

Moreover, is there a distinction made between a visiting assistant professor vs visiting associate professor vs just visiting professor?

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    Sounds more like she is an Adjunct. We have faculty called "Sessionals" who work full time elsewhere, but are paid to teach a course they have expertise in. A visiting professor can be either Assistant or Associate, who is normally full time at one institute, but visits another for a semester to teach courses or do collaborate with another researcher at their lab. – Inde Jan 15 '17 at 20:26
  • @Inde OK Thank you! So another words this professor is most certainly NOT a visiting professor correct? She is almost certainly an Adjunct Professor correct? If I am getting a LoR from this professor, would it appear better to call her an Adjunct professor or sessional instructor? Now does it look – masque Jan 15 '17 at 20:45
  • If you really need to provide a title more specific than Professor, just ask her what title to use. Don't make up a title if you don't know what it is. – ff524 Jan 15 '17 at 21:48
  • Why don't you just ask the person? – Raghu Parthasarathy Jan 15 '17 at 21:55
  • @RaghuParthasarathy Grad applications are due today! I was not prepared for them to ask for the "title" of the professor – masque Jan 15 '17 at 22:15
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I believe the best term (in the abstract) is "adjunct professor." "Visiting" does not seem to apply, for the reasons you state.

"Adjunct" conveys some useful information, and is important in the politics of how academic departments function. Many adjuncts do not have professional ambitions in academia; they are well established in their professional field, and teach a course in order to stay in touch with the academic world, to add credibility to their name, or similar reasons. So, while from an academic perspective an adjunct might be considered less academically qualified, from their professional perspective that might not be especially important. Also, bringing practical experience into the classroom is highly valued in many disciplines.

There has been a great deal written in recent years about the efficacy and ethics of universities, community colleges, etc. hiring more adjuncts, at the expense of tenure-track professor positions. They do so, in part, to save money, which is seen by many as an infringement into the academic quality/integrity of a university. Worth looking into.

  • Thank You for the answer! This professor has written me a LoR, and I believe I will just write "Adjunct professor" under "Title" but should I also include she conducts scientific/mathematical research for a government agency for her daytime job? It seems relevant since she is a researcher and not just an adjunct professor who doesn't even work the rest of the time. – masque Jan 15 '17 at 23:02
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    So it would look like--> Title: Adjunct Professor/Researcher for ___ ....................................................................Perhaps that adds more credibility? – masque Jan 15 '17 at 23:02
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    She would list her title(s) in her LoR, so no harm in including both her positions in your application; i.e., Adjunct Professor, Dept. University and below that Researcher, Company. – Inde Jan 15 '17 at 23:07

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