A few comparisons

Compared with countries like the US and UK, the degree systems in France, Germany and Russia (or the former Soviet Union) have many differences in terms of training time, class and name. In these European countries, the higher education system is highly competitive; Students are admitted to university only after passing an entrance exam, which is sometimes very difficult. In contrast, in countries like the US, UK and Australia, students can be directly admitted to university based on their high school scores and the baccalaureate exam.

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Although different in terms of names and training programs, in general, these European countries also have three main degrees: bachelor, master and doctorate. Based on the training time, it can be considered that the Bachelor degree in the Anglo-American system is equivalent to the French License, the German Diplom and the Russian Diploma. Similarly, a Master’s degree in the Anglo-American system can be considered equivalent to the French Maitrise, the German Magister, and some Russian Candidat Nauk degrees. Also depending on the program and duration of training, it is possible to view the Ph.D. American and British equivalents of the French Doctorat du Troisième Cycle, the German Doktor, and some (but not all) Russian Candidat Nauk degrees. Diploma D.Sc. British and Australian equivalents are probably equivalent to the French Doctor d’État, the German Habilitation and the Russian Doktor Nauk.

Function learning system

Diplomas are degrees awarded by educational institutions to students after completing a program of study. Academic positions are academic positions either promoted or awarded by the government or universities to those who teach or do scientific research. Examples are Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. (or equivalent) are academic degrees; and Professor, Lecturer, and Fellow are academics. Today, most university teachers are required to have at least a Master’s degree, but usually a Doctorate or equivalent.

In Western universities, people distinguish three levels of teaching staff, which I will temporarily call: apprentice, intermediate, and senior. At the probationary level, there are positions such as Teaching Assistant, Tutor. Proctor, etc. These staff members are responsible for teaching assistants, grading exams, supervising labs, etc.

At the intermediate level, there are academic staff with titles such as Lecturer (in the UK and Australia), Maitre Assistant (France) and Assistant Professor (USA) (13). These staff members are at the beginning of the academic career ladder, tasked directly with teaching students and doing research either independently, or under the direction of senior professors.

One level above the intermediate level are academic staff with the titles of Reader (in the UK and Australia), Maitre de Conférence (France) and Associate Professor (Australia and the US) (14). These people are academics who are in the “transition” period to prepare to be promoted to the highest academic position in the university academic system. In the vast majority, they are also independent researchers and have some reputation in the field.

Finally, there are senior academic staff, ie those holding the rank of Professor (in the US, UK, and Australia), Professeur (France) or Senior Fellow (UK and Australia) (15). They are scientists with many years of experience and reputable research in the international arena.

Criteria for promotion to these positions are generally based on three main contributions: research, teaching, and community service. In terms of research, the level of dedication to human knowledge is “measured” by the number and quality of patents or papers published in specialized scientific journals. subject(16). Depending on the university, an Assistant Professor must have at least 5 scientific papers; an Associate Professor usually has a minimum of 30 scientific papers; and a Professor must have a minimum of 50 (usually 100) scientific papers.

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Learning the “combination” function

In addition to honors that are seriously conferred or promoted on the basis of academic and teaching performance, in certain disciplines such as medicine, economics, and engineering, a number of academic degrees are awarded on the basis of academic achievement. relationship of the grantee and the university. In hospitals, some senior specialists, although not doing scientific research and not publishing any significant scientific work, may be appointed as Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or even Professor in medical schools. Similarly, some scientific researchers in commercial companies, although not teaching, are also awarded the above academic positions.

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These “scientists” are not paid by the university, and are not full-time employees of the university. But when they publish scientific articles, the school has the right to consider those articles as intellectual property of the school! However, in return, they are allowed to use the academic titles of the school in documents related to scientific activities. These functions often have the word “Conjoint” or “Adjunct” in front of the title “Professor” or “Associate Professor” to distinguish them from “real” academic functions. The use of these designations is, in theory, often rigorously tested by universities; but in practice, some people who are awarded these degrees often ignore and omit the words “Conjoint” or “Adjunct” in order to be understood by outsiders as real academics!

Degree and Honors Degree

Almost all universities in Western countries have plans to promote their name and reputation to the outside world. To achieve this goal, universities often use the policy of awarding degrees and honorary degrees to important figures in the community. The honorary degrees and degrees awarded are usually the highest degrees and positions in the university: “Honorary Doctor” or “Honorary Professor”. The awardee does not have to be an alumnus or former employee of the university, nor does it have to have any educational background, but can be a political activist, social activist, an artist. , journalist, famous civil servant. In Australia, former Prime Minister Paul J. Keating, who had a high school education, after leaving politics, was awarded the title “Honorary Professor” by the University of New South Wales, in recognition of his contribution. in an effort to bring Australia’s name into the Asian market.

Honors degrees and diplomas are, therefore, more diplomatic and “friendly” than academic certificates. Thus, in practice, most Westerners who are awarded a degree and honorary degree rarely use it as an academic achievement or academic achievement; However, some Vietnamese compatriots like to sign their names with honorary titles in public.

In addition to these “friendship” titles, many universities also confer the title of “Emeritus Professor” (former professor) to professors who have retired, but are still attached to the university. This title is usually awarded to professors who have made a great contribution to science, to the school and have worked at the school for a long time.

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Some positions in professional associations

Some professions, such as medicine and engineering, are often quite closely organized, in which professional qualifications and seniority levels are relatively clearly divided. Under this organizational structure, practitioners must be members of a professional association. This association has the function of setting standards and codes of practice, checking the qualifications of its members, and managing personnel in the organization. Periodically, usually annually, these professional associations hold an entrance exam for membership. For example, in Australia and the UK, doctors who want to practice in a specialty, in addition to practicing for a period of time (about 5 years), must also pass an entrance exam to a specialized “college” such as the “Royal College of Surgeons” ” (for surgeons), “Royal College of Radiologists” (for radiation specialists), etc. After passing the exam, candidates will be granted a practicing certificate. These certificates often have the word “Fellow” in front of them, like “Fellow of the Royal College geons” or (FRCS). Engineers in the US have associations similar to those in the medical profession, but their membership methods and names are different from the medical profession.

However, in other professions, there are many professional associations that operate in a semi-commercial manner, and the organization is not as rigorous as in medicine and engineering. Most of these associations are open to all members, regardless of education level and professional ability, even students can join, and there is no entrance exam. Members must pay a membership fee each year. Members are often referred to as “Members”, rather than “Fellows” like serious associations. Therefore, membership in these societies is by no means a proof of professional ability or scientific achievement.

In addition to professional associations, there are also polytechnic associations, whose members are all scientists active in all different fields. These associations are often called “Academy,” such as “The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.” Unlike the former Soviet Union (where the Moscow Academy of Sciences was a research center), in Western countries such as the US, UK and Australia, the academy is not a research institute, nor is it a research institute. a collection of research institutes, which is a private non-profit corporation or organization whose primary function is to: (i) advise the government on science and technology related policies; and (ii) educate and mobilize the public about science and its role in society.

For the majority of the population, the term “academy” is synonymous with the gathering place of brilliant minds, the wisest people of a country. But in fact in countries with highly advanced science like the US, this is only partly true, because as mentioned above, the Academy Science is just a body, a representative body for scientists. Academy members are usually recommended and voted for by their peers. Therefore, there are many scientists who have real talent, but are not recommended, so they are never members of the academy! Of the approximately 350 American scientists and social scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, only 170 are members of the Institute. The US National Academy of Sciences has about 1900 members (often translated as “academician”); of which about 300 are nationals and overseas. By common standards, they should be elite scientists in their respective fields, but due to their egalitarian nature, it also presents some problems with regard to favoritism and faction. There have been many people think that the Institute is a closed club (“close club”), where only scientists know each other through social interaction, rather than a genuine representative body for scientists. scientist. Going through the list of 1900 members of this Institute, one can find the names of many scientists who often appear on the mass media systems or have many social and political activities such as Albert Einstein, James Watson, etc. As a result, many great scientists, who consider themselves “real” scientists, who don’t like vanity or noise in the media, don’t like being in this Institute. Renowned physicist Richard Feynman, like many other famous scientists, is not a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. There has not been a Vietnamese or Vietnamese scientist with a foot in the US National Academy of Sciences.

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The prestige of an academy depends not only on the scientific and technical progress of a country, but also on the reputation of its members. No one will be surprised to learn that the scientific academies of the US, UK, France, Germany or the former Soviet Union, home to the world’s top scientists, are more respected than academic institutions. scientific forestry of African or Muslim countries. It should also be added here that not only wearing the name “academy” (academy) on a body or agency automatically becomes an academy. Of the “scientific academies” in the US, only the US National Academy of Sciences is the most prestigious; Other academies, although also using the word “academy”, such as “The New York Academy of Science” (NYAS or the New York Academy of Sciences) are a commercial body, do not have great reputation in the community. scientific community. Any student in the world can become an “academician” if they pay the annual membership fee to the Institute. Therefore, NYAS membership is not an honor, nor a certificate of achievement in scientific activity. However, I see that many Vietnamese scientists have been mistaken and “made money” by this Institute (17).

Some general comments

People who are not familiar with the system of academics and degrees may feel dizzy with the names of degrees and academic degrees above, and will question what qualifications the person who is awarded these degrees must meet. In fact, nationally, there are no consistent standards across universities for awarding these degrees. Each university has its own standards. Sometimes each candidate is also considered on a case-by-case basis. Some students graduate with a doctorate within 3 or even 2 years of study, but there are students who have to work for eight years to earn a PhD. There are also rare cases when students are enrolled in a PhD program, but when they graduate, they are only assessed and awarded a Master’s degree. Another person studied for ten years, but could not write a thesis!