All about Titles and University Professors in the USA

Academic Titles are Different in Europe

By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA


I’ve taught in medical, graduate and business school academia for a while now, and served as instructor, adjunct, assistant, associate and full professor in the USA and Europe. I even held chair and endowed positions. But, the precise definition of these titles has always eluded me. So, I did a bit of research to arrive at the following conclusions mingled with my personal experiences..


A “Professor-of-the-Practice” or P-O-P is a non-tenured person appointed to the academic staff of an American university with  exceptional experiences in their “practice” (profession) and holding a terminal doctoral degree.

I’ve seen this position in medical schools and allied health care institutuions.

NOTE: In American universities, a “professor” is practically any lecturer with a doctor’s degree, whereas in most of the world the title is reserved for senior academics; including most Commonwealth Nations (United Kingdom), German-speaking nations and Northern Europe. It may also be a department head or specifically bestowed chair. A professor is a highly accomplished and recognized academic, and the title is awarded only after decades of scholarly work. In the United States and Canada the title of professor is granted to all scholars with doctorate degrees (typically Ph.D.s) who teach in two and four year colleges and universities, and used in the titles Assistant Professor and Associate Professor, which are not considered full professorship level positions elsewhere.



A Scholar-in-Residence can serve a university in a full-time, visiting, or part-time capacity. A full-time SIR will be provided on-campus housing and is asked to: hold 2-5 office hours/programs per week in the community. A part-time SIR will host at least 2 programs/activities during the appointment and attend appropriate community meetings.

I’ve seen this position mostly in the graduate school universe.

Finally, an “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” is a position typically held by successful entrepreneurs in venture capital firms, private equity firms, startup accelerators, law firms, or business schools. The EIR typically leads a small, early-stage, emerging company deemed to have high growth potential, or has demonstrated high growth. The university endowment fund provides the Entrepreneur-in-Residence with working capital to nurture expansion, new-product development, or restructuring of the company’s operations, management, and/or ownership.

This is likely the newest business school nomenclature iteration IMHO.

Assessment: So, how did I do with these definitions which still may vary among different colleges, universities and institutions? Your thoughts are appreciated.


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