Moving America Forward

What Do You Call a Dedicated Teacher at a Community College?

February 11, 2014
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What Do You Call a Dedicated Teacher at a Community College?
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For North Carolina's Wake Tech, the only acceptable answer was "professor."

At Wake Tech in Raleigh, N.C., nearly 200 instructors were recently given a much-deserved new title: professor. As the News Observer reports, it’s unusual for community colleges anywhere in the country to award such ranks, even if these faculty members have worked for decades and are just as respected as their peers at universities.

Not only does the new title give recognition to these hardworking faculty members, it incentivizes other instructors to continue working at the school. Administrators only considered “professor” promotions if faculty members had worked for more than seven years and submitted an essay about the breadth of their scholarly work, in and out of the classroom. According to the News Observer, about 85 percent of 258 applicants were given new titles.

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Besides a new rank, these professors also got a raise of up to 6 percent. It’s a start to closing a striking pay gap in academia; the average salary of full time faculty members is $82,556 while the average salary at Wake Tech for an instructor is $46,000, Inside Higher Ed reports.

But it’s not just about the bigger paychecks. After he was given his new professor title, John Clevenger, a 25-year electronics teacher said, “We all teach because we love the job. I honestly see it as an honor to be recognized by my peers.”

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