A Senior Lecturer / Research Fellow is an academic rank at universities and other educational and research institutions in most countries. In Australia, a Senior Lecturer / Research Fellow usually supports the Associate Professor in their duties of academic research. Although, Senior Lecturers / Research Fellows are treated differently around the world, depending on cultural and academic norms. In some cases, the position is essentially permanent, with some possibility for rising in the ranks, while in other instances, people employed in these positions can only expect temporary terms of employment.
Senior Lecturers / Research Fellows are required to have a PhD in their relevant discipline or specialist area. They will also be a leader in scholarly and research achievements, and have an active programme of research in the relevant area. To support this they will have an established track record of publication in peer reviewed local or international journals and a growing international reputation in their field. They are often required to have grant success and demonstrate contributions to international meetings and societies. They are often required to demonstrate project management skills and the ability to work with a wide range of stakeholders.
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