The Office of Faculty Advancement acts as the human resources department for faculty employees. The position descriptions summarized below are among the academic personnel that we service. The academic positions are ranked to provide an overview of our institutional structure.
Provost: the senior academic officer of the university.
Dean: an academic administrator responsible for a college within the university.
Associate Dean: an academic administrator who supports the dean in the oversight of faculty-related issues, resource management/fiscal planning, curriculum/course scheduling, undergraduate and graduate programs, and/or research initiatives.
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs: an academic administrator who supports the dean in the oversight of student advocacy and advising.
Professor Emeritus: a retired faculty member who is usually not paid a regular salary but often retains access to the university's facilities. Often "emeritus" carries with it an honorific recognition by the institution; retired faculty members may or may not be designated "emeritus." At SDSU, faculty are designated "emeritus" by the University Senate.
Professor with Tenure: a tenured faculty member at the highest rank of seniority, awarded on the basis of accomplishments in teaching, professional growth, and service.
Professor: a professor without tenure has a probationary status typically when newly hired at an institution that acknowledges their expertise in the profession, yet requires a period of observation prior to granting permanency.
Associate Professor with Tenure: a tenured faculty member at mid-level seniority. An associate professor may seek promotion to professor or remain at associate level if further promotion is not sought.
Associate Professor: mid-level for tenure-track faculty positions. An associate professor without tenure has a probationary status typically when newly hired at an institution that acknowledges their knowledge in the profession, yet requires a period of observation prior to granting permanency.
Assistant Professor: entry-level for tenure-track faculty positions, generally taken after earning a doctoral degree. Assistant professors may seek tenure and promotion to associate professor after completing a probationary period and establishing a record of accomplishment in teaching, professional growth, and service.
Lecturer: non-tenure track, "temporary" faculty who may be full or part-time instructors with no research obligations.
Adjunct Professor: unpaid/volunteer researchers or instructors.
Teaching Assistant or Associate (TA): graduate students who are employed to provide direct instruction to undergraduate students, primarily at the lower-division level.
Graduate Assistant (GA): graduate students who are employed to provide instructionally-related services to undergraduate students or support faculty research activities.
Instructional Student Assistant (ISA): graduate students who are employed to tutor, grade, or perform other tasks supporting instruction.
*Tenure is an appointment of permanency that lasts until retirement age, except for dismissal with just cause. The American Association of University Professors in its 1915 Declaration of Principles established "security of tenure" as essential to the "dignity" of the professoriate. In 1940, the AAUP issued a new Statement of Principles with a more detailed articulation of what "tenure" means and how it should be achieved. The AAUP recommended a "probationary period" before tenure-track faculty secured tenured status, and it identified "freedom of teaching and research" and "a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive" as the key goals of tenure. By the 1970s, most universities in the United States had instituted tenure policies and processes.