adjunct professor

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a professor employed by a college or university for a specific purpose or length of time and often part-time.
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Origin of adjunct professor

First recorded in 1820–30

Words nearby adjunct professor

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does adjunct professor mean?

An adjunct professor is a college or university professor whose employment is temporary or part-time.

Adjunct professor (often shortened to simply adjunct)  is typically used to indicate that a professor does not have tenure or is not eligible for tenure. Tenure is a status granted to some professors (after they reach a certain amount of experience) that makes their position essentially permanent. Due to the temporary or part-time status of adjunct professors, this title sometimes carries a connotation that associates it with the difficulties of being in such a position, such as job insecurity and lack of benefits.

Example: My math professor is an adjunct professor so he might not be here next semester.

Where does adjunct professor come from?

The term adjunct professor was first recorded around the 1820s. Adjunct comes from the Latin word adjunctus, meaning “attached” or “associated.” In this sense, an adjunct professor can be thought of as a temporary attachment, rather than a permanent addition, to the teaching staff of a college or university.

The role of adjunct professors is similar to that of associate or assistant professors with the exception that adjuncts are not eligible for tenure. Tenure-track professors are usually employed full-time for a probationary period (often several years) before they receive tenure. Adjunct professors, on the other hand, often work part-time and without the possibility of gaining tenure. Many professors begin their teaching careers as adjunct professors before they’re able to get full-time teaching positions.

The trend of hiring professors for part-time work, rather than for full contracts that could lead to tenure, has increased since the 1970s. The difficulty of gaining tenure can make it difficult for adjunct professors to earn a living by teaching, especially since their workload may be comparable to their tenured colleagues but does not result in the same compensation or benefits.

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How is adjunct professor used in real life?

The term adjunct professor often brings to mind the temporary nature of the position.



Try using adjunct professor!

Is adjunct professor used correctly in the following sentence?

I was granted tenure after serving as an adjunct professor for seven years.

How to use adjunct professor in a sentence