Re: [OPE-L] Professor

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sat Aug 25 2007 - 19:43:35 EDT

(Prof. -- in the USA sense! -- David Laibman)
(At CUNY, even non-teaching librarians are called "Professor"  It is
title inflation, like all the Doctors in Vonnegut's *Slaughterhouse Five*.)

Hi David:

For the benefit of those on the list who are not familar with this
distinction, in the US the term "professor" can have two distinct

1) as a *rank*: thus, a "Professor" would have a higher rank than a
Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, etc.  In this sense,
colleges are not unlike armies and navies!  They - like the military -
certainly tend to be hierarchical and bureaucratic.

2) it can mean simply "faculty" (or even, as you point out, non-teaching
professional staff).  In this *generic* and *nominal* sense, there are
many more professors than are paid according to the rank of professor.
Thus, when I receive correspondence from the administration of Pratt
Institute, the letters are addressed to "Professor Levy", even though I am
not a professor in the previous sense which I described.

As trade unionists and Marxists, I think we should be in favor of only the
2nd sense since distinctions of rank - along with their corresponding
differences in salary, benefits, job security, etc - are used to weaken
academic workers and their organizations.  The second sense of the term is
the one most consistent with the principles of solidarity and equality.

In solidarity, Jerry

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