Monday, March 24, 2014

Assistant to a Professor

I was doing a science-high-school-outreach activitiy last week. I was wearing a badge that said "assistant professor" blah blah. On a number of occasions I had students talk to me and refer to me as: "so you are an assistant to a professor, what do you do or how does it work?"

I did not know if I should be offended or educate. I opted for the latter each time but I am still perplexed. Does this happen or happened to people often? How come ?

6 comments:

  1. Dr. Noncoding ArenayMarch 24, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    LOL that gave me a laugh. I would be amused, not offended. While the best decision is to educate them, they will learn by themselves soon enough when they go to college. More importantly, you should give the school teachers some feedback on this so that they can inform their classroom.

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    1. Yes me too but this was very weird. I mean I happen to know that there is a person called assistant professor when I was in 6th grade. Oh well !

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  2. You do know that in Europe, from where these titles originated, an assistant professor is actually an assistant to the professor. The AP manages a subgroup of the larger research team overseen by the professor, who is the only one that can use the title Prof. Dr. The US titles are somewhat off base and maybe calling yourself a principal investigator is more accurate. In other words, the kids were actually spot on with their assumption based on your title.

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    1. Spot on in Europe. This is not Europe :P

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  3. Dr. Noncoding ArenayMarch 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Call yourself a Principal Investigator and they would have asked whether you are a detective that's investigating the school's Principal! ;) :D

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  4. I think you should abbreviate to Ass. Professor! Works for associate too! :-)

    I opted for the latter each time but I am still perplexed. Does this happen or happened to people often? How come ?

    Hey, everyone always thinks I am a secretary, so I always have to tell them I am faculty. Used to feel silly explaining myself, stopped caring somewhere along the way. I don't think the assistant prof thing will happen to you very often; maybe you look young, take it as a compliment!

    On a semi-related note, let me cheer you up: We have an academic staff position called Faculty Associate, and three levels of seniority there as well. So you have Assistant Faculty Associate, Associate Faculty Associate, and Faculty Associate. When you hold the title of Associate Faculty Associate, everyone constantly assumes you have have a misprint! It's the most ridiculous title ever.

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