What Does an Associate Lecturer Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2019
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An associate lecturer provides instruction and mentoring for students and may participate in professional development through research and other activities. Such positions do not come with tenure, and thus have less job security than other members of the faculty at an institution of higher education. The benefits and pay can depend on the employer and the specifics of the position, but could include health care, pension payments, and other benefits. It may be possible to negotiate if an applicant has a strong record.

An important part of the work of an associate lecturer is classroom teaching. This requires the preparation of lesson plans and class materials. If the class is accredited, the associate lecturer needs to make sure it meets any curricular standards set by regulators. These may include specific topics that must be covered, along with particular assignments students need to complete to develop competence and skill. As requirements may change, associate lecturers need to keep up with academic guidelines.

Outside of class, the associate lecturer typically has office hours to provide assistance to students. Students can meet to discuss questions or concerns, get feedback on early drafts of papers, and solicit more information about topics of interest. Some associate lecturers may spend time in a lab, providing assistance to students completing assignments. Community outreach can also be a part of the job; an associate lecturer in entomology, for example, might identify insects for a university extension program.


Some participate in research and may actively conduct research and mentor students as they work on projects. An associate lecturer can also design and implement honors curricula, write letters of recommendation on behalf of students, and work on overall departmental development. This can include meetings with other faculty members to talk about curricula, events, and ways to attract and retain students. Some may be active with student or faculty organizations that advocate for various causes on campus, such as the teacher’s union.

The status of an associate lecturer can vary, depending on the institution. They may need to renew contracts each semester or year, rather than enjoying more long-term job security. For some, this is an advantage, as it may make it easier to change employers to pursue opportunities and work in new environments. Some are full time and teach a full load of classes, while others are hired on a part-time basis to meet teaching shortfalls. Part-time employees may not qualify for additional benefits, however, such as health insurance.


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