An Associate Professor is an academic rank at universities and other educational and research institutions in most countries. Associate Professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" and Associate meaning a person who shares or partners with another in an enterprise. In Australia, Associate Professors are experts in their field and Teachers of the second highest rank.
In some Australian Universities they have adopted the American system and the term can refer to the most senior academic position, however, more commonly Associate Professor is the support for the Professor and is likened to Senior Lecturer.
Professors and Associate Professors often conduct their own original research and commonly teach Undergraduate, Professional or Postgraduate courses in their field of expertise. In universities, Associate Professors may mentor and supervise graduate students conducting research for a thesis or dissertation. They assess students in their field of expertise. Associate Professors and Professors manage teaching, research, publications, present lectures and seminars, perform and lead the publishing of their research. They conduct administrative and record keeping tasks.
In many universities, Associate Professors take on senior managerial roles such as leading departments, research teams and institutes, and filling roles senior roles such as Professor.
A career as an academic will often begin with short-term or casual positions as a Tutor. To secure these positions you need to be a standout performer as a student. This means highly competitive marks (ideally including some academic merit prizes), strong relationships with faculty and successful admission to an honours program (many of which require prospective applicants to possess a distinction average and several references).
From this point, it’s a matter of continuing to distinguish yourself, through excellence in teaching and research, so that you can pursue new academic opportunities as they arise. You’ll need to make a concerted effort to publish articles in prestigious journals or take up extracurricular activities.
Another way you may want to become an academic is by completing a masters program or PhD. Today most candidates need a PhD to obtain a full-time position, as the criteria for most academic jobs tend to favour coursework over research. Impressive professional experience is also looked upon favourably. Ideally, the experience will be aligned with your research interests. For example, you have experience in audit and accounting at a large accounting firm and are interested in pursuing further research in this area.
To move forward into Lecturer and Research roles, Associate Professor and Professor requires the ability to demonstrate expertise, qualifications and recognition in the area of expertise.
- Have an exceptional academic transcript
- Love research and have an inquiring mind
- Are highly self-motivated
- Wish to teach