Learning the lingo of your new college can sometimes seem like learning an entirely new language. You can quickly master this new "vocabulary" and seem like you've known the terms since before you arrived with a little explanation. Most students come from high schools where their teachers were called . . . teachers. In college, most of your "teachers" are called professors. This indicates that you are 1) in a college environment, and, being taught by someone with a PhD more often than not. 2. Drop the "teacher" reference the moment you start unpacking!  Visiting professor usually has a PhD. However, a visiting professor is usually someone not normally associated with your college or university just like the "professor" term mentioned above. It is usually doing research or other work and also he or she may only be there for one semester or one academic year. Since you usually can't check with other students about their experiences with someone who hasn't taught classes on campus before. It is hard to gauge what a visiting professor will be like. An instructor is often someone who is teaching at a college or university but who does not have a PhD. 

 

College academic lingo defined

However, they often have quite a bit of experience in their fields and are otherwise very qualified. Treat an instructor like a professor, since their roles -- and power -- in the classroom are often the same. The faculty, or a faculty member, is generally anyone who teaches at the college. Tenure is something unique to higher education. A traditional path of someone who wants to teach at a college is to get their PhD and then get a job as a professor on a campus. They are usually in a "tenure-track" position for the first six years or so that they are teaching. This means that they are focusing on teaching, doing research, getting published, and contributing to the campus community.  The professor is then granted tenure. Earning tenure is equivalent to ensuring one's job on a campus if all goes well.  It means you have someone who has been at the school for a while and been judged, by a committee of their peers and the academic dean to be an essential member of the faculty and campus community in case you have a tenured professor teaching your class. These are very common terms for people, besides the professor, who might be in your classroom. A TA is a Teaching Assistant or Adviser; a GI is a Graduate Instructor; a GSI is a Graduate Student Instructor; a GSA is a . . . are you seeing the pattern while these all look completely different. Graduate Student Assistant or Adviser; a GA is a Graduate Assistant or Adviser. Each campus uses one of these terms to more or less denote someone who helps the professor out and who is usually a graduate student or upper-class student. They may lead smaller seminars, grade your papers, and be available during office hours.