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Which profs generally have the most time?

  1. Jun 21, 2010 #1


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    So there are emeritus professors, full professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and postdocs.

    Which of them generally has the most time for explaining things to students? Some professors pretty much tell you what you should do for the next meeting, but then leave you to figure things out on your own. Other professors are willing to explain things to you if you don't understand them (some of them more impatient than others). For the record, I've only interacted with assistant profs and postdocs.

    I know that variation *between* professors in an individual category is generally much higher than variation between professors of different categories, but it's still desirable to have the most pertinent information available before choosing a professor (and standing is one of those pieces of information).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2010 #2


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    Well, "emeritus professors" will have a lot of time but are probably not on campus to explain things- "emeritus" means "retired"!

    My experience is that it pretty much depends on the individual far more than the rank.
  4. Jun 21, 2010 #3


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    Full professors with tenure would theoretically have more time (other than emeritus, but good luck catching one) since they aren't being as pressured to publish as lower ranked faculty, but in practice it's usually the opposite - they're running labs, teaching classes, advising a ton of students, maybe working on external review boards or for journals, so much of their time is taken up with all that. Lower ranked professors still have to prove themselves and earn tenure by publishing a lot and probably teaching more than the higher ranked professors, but since they tend to be closer in age to the students they're working with, they remember what it was like and seem more willing to help.
  5. Jun 21, 2010 #4
    Find the individuals that enjoy teaching. I know a graduate student who encouraged me to go to him with any questions or concerns I might have; I was not in his class or even enrolled at that particular university. Those types of individuals are difficult ti find but make an effort and find them.
  6. Jun 22, 2010 #5
    I agree with the idea that the rank doesn't matter. I used to think full-time professors don't have to work as much as the assistant professors, but they are also very busy too. I've seen a full-time professor who would come to school over weekend to prepare for lectures as well as administrative business within the university, and yet managed to spend as much time as possible with his students. So it really depends on how much the individual is willing to help.

    Well, except for emeritus, but again, they are already retired, so not many of them are in the campus. I do know one retired professor who would come to the campus twice a week to talk to undergraduates, and still working on some projects. He is a great guy, but that type of person is kind of rare.
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