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What Does a Junior Lecturer Do?

By L.K. Blackburn
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Courses at colleges and universities are taught by professors who are all at different levels within their academic careers. Usually, professors at a university are working towards a tenure-track position where they are guaranteed a teaching position until retirement at the school. Sometimes, a college will have a greater need for teachers than they have open tenured teaching spots, so they will hire individuals to teach as a junior lecturer. It is the job of a junior lecturer to teach classes and instruct students. Lecturers may also work on their own research and continue publishing in their field, especially if they are seeking to eventually have a full-time tenured teaching position.

As it is an entry-level position, a junior lecturer may be responsible for teaching multiple classes in an academic quarter or semester. Teaching summer classes can also be part of the junior lecturer job description, as free-time in the summer may only be awarded to full-time tenured teaching staff at a university. The classes taught by a junior lecturer are typically held during normal business hours. Occasionally, weekend and evening courses may need to be taught. A lecturer may also be responsible for designing and maintaining an online course offered by the university.

Lecturers can operate in the same capacity as a full professor, which means they choose course topics and create a syllabus for class instruction. Generally, courses are taught with a set number of lecture classes per term. Tests and assignments are typically written and administered by lecturers at a university. In small classes, lecturers may be responsible for grading their students work. Larger classes typically have teaching assistants to help professors and lecturers grade exams and homework.

Office hours can be the responsibility of a junior lecturer. During a set time period each week, professors make themselves available to the students they lecture for questions. Students may ask the lecturer for homework assistance and lecture clarification.

The junior lecturer position can be one stop on the path to an academic career as a college professor. Students interested in becoming a junior lecturer should attend college and graduate with at least an undergraduate degree. In most cases, a master's degree or doctorate is required to become a lecturer. The career path to becoming a lecturer will differ based on the type of academic study a student pursues, but it may generally be a good idea to publish as much as possible during college and graduate school. Publications can help secure lecture spots that can eventually lead to tenure, and that will adequately allow for personal research and semesters off from teaching.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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