Friday, March 28, 2008

Obama was a professor

OK, now this campaign has gotten truly ridiculous. I've heard rumors that the Clinton campaign is accusing Obama of exaggerating his experience at the University of Chicago Law School, because he says that he was a professor, while his actual title was "Senior Lecturer."

Talk about a fine distinction. For me, "professor" means someone who teaches at a university. I don't care what the official title is - if you're getting paid to teach in a classroom at an institution of higher education, you're a professor. Now U Chicago is clarifying things:

From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track.

So hopefully that puts an end to that little escapade.

1 comment:

ITF said...

Re: For me, "professor" means someone who teaches at a university

I disagree. There are three lines drawn here. One is the addition of "on a regular basis" -- many folks teach at university for a one-off class (I've done that a lot, I'm not a professor) or even whole semesters.

The second line is the snobbery that comes from people with doctorates (or a 2nd professional degree.)

the third line is academia -- professors don't just teach. They research. A lecturer implies to me someone who may be expert in a subject, but is not necessarily a committed academic, and thus, not necessarily a professor.