Nearly all professors are organized under one of the eighteen academic departments. The few exceptions include specialist professors in the Black Studies Program, Environmental Studies Program, and Neuroscience Program.
Types of Professors
There are several types of professor, based on experience, education, tenure status, and departmental positions.
An assistant professor is the tenure-track entry-level position for Knox professors. New professors typically remain assistant professors for four or five years before they are awarded tenure. Many assistant professors ultimately choose to take new assistant professorships at other schools rather than get tenure at Knox.
Selection as an assistant professor usually requires the terminal degree in one's subject area, usually a Ph.D.
An associate professor is a tenured professor, generally with moderate seniority (above assistant and visiting professors, but below full professors). Associate professors generally carry out the same duties as full professors, and several are department chairs.
A full professor has higher seniority than an associate professor, and thus better pay.
A distinguished professor is a full professor who has been named to an endowed chair. The endowments are typically named in the memory of large donors or a donor's favorite professor. Lance Factor was the first living professor at Knox to have a professorship endowed in his honor. Since the level of endowments varies from department to department, some have several endowments to offer while others have none.
A professor emeritus is a full or distinguished professor who has retired from full-time teaching, but generally still provides services to the school in terms of lectures, research, or administrative work. The chairs of the Lincoln Studies Center are professors emeriti, as is the College Examiner. Some professors emeriti, such as Ross Vander Meulen, continue to teach part-time or certain classes during certain terms.
Visiting professors are individuals hired for a short-term assignment. This is most commonly used to fill a gap until a tenure-track professor can be employed (usually visiting professors are not invited to assume the permanent position). Sometimes this may also be used for a special guest professor on a visiting assignment from a standard professorship at another institution.
There are several sub-types of visiting faculty, based on education and existing status. A professor visiting from another institution is generally labeled a visiting professor. A professor with a terminal degree who is hired for a temporary assignment is known as a visiting assistant professor. A temporary faculty member without a terminal degree is known as a visiting instructor.
There are also several types of adjunct faculty, who have ongoing assignments but do not possess a terminal degree. These positions are usually in the various arts, especially the Music Department. They are known as Instructors (who are usually full-time) or Lecturers (who are usually part-time).