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What Does a College Lecturer Do?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 17, 2024
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A college lecturer presents the material, distributes assignments, and assigns final grades for classes in a higher education setting. This type of instructor typically teaches large numbers of students who need to fulfill certain course requirements to receive a degree. The typical lecturer is an expert in a specific academic field. Most colleges and universities require a prospective academic lecturer to have a master's degree at minimum to be hired as part of the faculty. In addition to teaching duties, a college lecturer is often required to publish a certain number of researched academic papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Preparing for an academic career as a college lecturer typically starts during the undergraduate years. Future lecturers are often passionate about a certain subject and want to share their knowledge with others. A college lecturer usually starts with receiving a bachelor's degree in this concentrated subject area and also may take additional courses in teaching theory, educational psychology, or classroom management. Most prospective lecturers move directly into graduate-level studies once they have completed these undergraduate requirements. Many find that working as a volunteer lecturer or a teaching assistant is an effective way to become comfortable with speaking in front of large groups and with making interesting presentations.

Some requirements to become a college lecturer may also include passing a comprehensive exam for licensure or certification as a higher education instructor. The scope of this exam can vary by region, and new college lecturers typically have a limited amount of time to achieve a passing score. Once a new professional lecturer completes this exam, he is eligible to begin interviewing for open job positions at the university level. Many colleges hire entry-level lecturers as junior or adjunct instructors. After several years of teaching, publishing, and involvement in extra school endeavors, a college lecturer can be promoted to a tenure-track teaching position.

A tenure-track lecturer usually has a good salary, a good benefits package, and job security. Just as with promotion criteria in other types of jobs, a college lecturer normally receives this position based on performance evaluations. Positive student reviews and continued improvement of teaching skills are usually examined when supervisors or administrators are considering a college lecturer for a tenured position. Lecturers who publish unique ideas in their field's academic journals also have good chances for promotions and rewards throughout their academic careers.

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Discussion Comments
By RoyalSpyder — On Mar 04, 2014

In my experience, some college lecturers are very disagreeable. Some of them I've had have been very narrow minded, and they generally don't allow you to have an opinion on anything. During my sophomore year, in Theology 101, I took a course that discussed the story of David, and his battle with Goliath. The professor had made an error during the discussion, and I corrected him on it. However, he easily dismissed me, and almost seemed a bit insulted that I would even question him. Obviously, not all professors are like this, but it's something to think about.

By Viranty — On Mar 03, 2014

One thing most students need to know about college lecturers is that they won't always tell you to take notes. I learned this the hard way during my freshmen year. In one of my Theology courses, there was a professor who gave tests that were completely based on his lectures. If you didn't take notes, you couldn't pass. It was as simple as that.

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