The difference between a lecturer and a professor can be explained in terms of roles and rank. The roles played by each distinguish them from the other. These roles are given according to rank, which is about the qualifications one has, that is both academic and professional qualifications. The terms of service also distinguishes lecturers from professors.
In terms of roles, a lecturer focuses on the student while a professor focuses on the subject. The lecturer imparts knowledge on his or her students and looks for the best way possible to deliver this knowledge. On the other hand, the professor, apart from teaching and research, focuses more on the subject he or she teaches with an aim to improve on it. He is not as concerned with giving assignments and tests but to establish how much his or her students have learnt but rather on how the subject can be improved. He or she therefore focuses on gaining new insights into the subject.
There are some who argue that since lecturers are focused on teaching, they are more concrete than professors who are said to focus on abstract ideas. This is because they focus on research. Professors do work on independent research even when they are still teaching. There are however people who are of a different opinion. They argue that since most students believe that professors are more knowledgeable in their subject area than lecturers, then they would prefer to be taught by a professor.
To be a professor requires one to demonstrate creative and scholarly ability. In this sense, the rank of a professor is based on achievements. This is accomplished through research that is meant to improve their subject area. The focus on insight on subject area makes professors knowledgeable on the subject. In this regard, they can deliver appropriate content to their students and add more knowledge on the subject than would a lecturer. Their teaching methods are therefore more likely to be dynamic than those of a lecturer.
The terms of service for lecturers and professors differ. Lecturers are mostly engaged on contractual basis which are extended depending on their quality of service and professional ability. Professors on the other hand work on tenure. As such, lecturers have to deal with low pay and most complain of lack of job security. Lecturers do not enjoy benefits since they are employed on contractual terms. Most lecturers, therefore, work hard to earn tenure so as to enjoy benefits as well as job security. However, there is argument that the economy cannot accommodate high numbers of people who desire to get tenure and therefore believe the best way to go about the disparity between the professors and the lecturers is fighting for the rights of lecturers (Benton & Edwards, 2006).
It is to be noted that lecturers are not allowed to join unions. This means that there is no body that can fight for their rights, that is, fight for better terms of service for the lecturers. This means that these lecturers are not covered by the collective bargaining agreement. There are however some lecturers who are covered by collective bargaining agreement between the body representing the workers’ rights and the employee (CMU). This means that in terms of service, professors are appointed on better terms than the lecturers.
In conclusion, the terms of service for a professor are more favorable than those of a lecturer. The argument about preference by the students may however not hold any weight while looking at the distinction between a professor and a lecturer. There are many other factors that determine preference other than knowledge of subject matter. The tenure enables professors to enjoy benefits which lecturers do not enjoy. The focus on improving the subject area through research also makes professors more knowledgeable on the subject area they are involved.