I have a visiting assistant professor (VAP) position, and that is how I list myself on academic sites like ResearchGate and LinkedIn. I have on more than one occasion, however, seen that people in VAPs will list themselves only as "assistant professor," in things like email signatures or on websites.

Is this acceptable? Because of course if that is acceptable or expected to some degree, I would probably do the same to make myself look better at surface level. My first impression is honestly just that it is just upselling for the sake of students and other correspondents though, and my guess is that it would make a bad impression to do so and have search committees seeing that on a website or whatever after they get your CV with the VAP in an application.

Is this a wrong impression or should I update all my online statuses?

[Edit: just to clarify, I was not asking for permission to lie about my status. I have never altered my title nor really planned to, but given what I observed I felt it was still a question that could be clarified. As you might expect, the observations I was talking about come from junior faculty colleagues at my institution, so I was unsure of the typicality of such behavior.]

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    Why would "assistant professor" make you look better than "visiting assistant professor"?
    – Kimball
    Oct 4, 2017 at 3:33
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    Without "visiting," the implication is that you are in a tenure-track position.
    – user69940
    Oct 4, 2017 at 3:38
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    I think that I would just state "visiting Assistant Professor". Stating that one is an "Assistant Professor" seems to me to be a bit misleading and could even backfire if it leads to people wondering why your "Assistant Professorship" never led to a full Professor position. Besides, a visiting assistant professorship listed on a CV looks fine as-is. Oct 4, 2017 at 4:40
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    No, it is not "upselling" - your usage of the word differs significantly from its dictionary definition. The correct word for what you are proposing to do is "lying". If you follow this dishonest approach, I suspect you will not be upgrading to a non-visiting assistant professor position any time soon.
    – Dan Romik
    Oct 4, 2017 at 6:22
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    Thanks for feedback, all. @DanRomik, I wasn't endorsing the above actions and haven't engaged in them. I was really only asking about something I observed in case I was missing some kind of accepted behavior. In such cases of similar questions in the future, I'll use the third person. Just adding this as I felt your evaluation was being directed at me personally, although I may be misreading. Thanks though for your feedback.
    – user69940
    Oct 4, 2017 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


I agree with you. People expect websites, email signatures, etc, to have accurate job titles, and there is a major qualitative difference between "Visiting Assistant Professor" and "Assistant Professor". Dropping the "Visiting" unintentionally is careless, and intentionally dropping it to "upsell" (i.e. mislead) is unethical.

(You might as well say, as long as you're dropping words, why not just make yourself a full "Professor"?)

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