Assistant lecturer

An assistant lecturer


Assistant lecturers share university or college lecturers’ academic workload, specifically the provision of lectures to students. They prepare and teach classes, and meet with students privately regarding evaluation. They also combine their lecturing and other academic duties with conducting their own research in their field of study. Assistant lecturers occupy an autonomous, full-time position, despite what the subservience element in the occupation title may suggest.

The duties of an assistant lecturer include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparing and delivering lectures, tutorials, workshops, and seminars.
  • Developing curricula and course material that can be used across a number of platforms.
  • Collaborating with other academics and lecturers to improve teaching methods and expand the knowledge base.
  • Setting and grading assignments, tests, and exams.
  • Conducting research, and writing papers, proposals, journal articles, and books.
  • Attending and participating in meetings, conferences, and other events in and outside of the institution.
  • Participating in training opportunities and initiatives at the institution.
  • Providing support to students and other colleagues.
  • Staying current by reading widely and producing work published in peer-reviewed journals.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to assistant lecturer:

lector’s assistant
adjunct assistant professor
assistant lecturer at a college
lecturer’s assistant
university assistant instructor
university assistant lecturer
junior lecturer
assistant professor
higher education assistant lecturer
research assistant professor
assistant teacher
college assistant lecturer
research assistant lecturer
college assistant instructor
assistant lecturer in university
assistant docent
assistant lector
assistant lecturer in higher education

Working conditions

Assistant lecturers typically work in an academic setting, such as a university or college. They may also work in research institutes or government agencies. They typically work full time and may have to work evenings and weekends to prepare lectures and meet with students. Some assistant lecturers may have to travel to give lectures at other institutions or to attend conferences.

Assistant lecturers typically work on a nine-month contract, although they may also work on a twelve-month contract or on a per-course basis. They may have to do some research in addition to their teaching duties.

Minimum qualifications

A master’s degree is often a minimum requirement to become an assistant lecturer. Some universities prefer candidates to have a doctorate. A master’s degree in a relevant field is often a good choice for those who want to teach in a specific discipline.

Assistant lecturers are expected to have a strong background in their field. They are also expected to thoroughly understand the university’s curriculum and teaching methods. Assistant lecturers are often required to attend training sessions to learn about the university’s policies and procedures. They may also receive training in using the university’s learning management system.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Assistant lecturer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Assistant lecturer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to assistant lecturer.

university teaching assistant
university research assistant
academic support officer

Long term prospects

Assistant lecturers usually progress to the role of lecturer on completion of several requirements, such as the time spent in their role, the experience in the subject, the academic qualifications, the demonstrated performance, and the scholarship. Typically they may be required to spend at least five years in the role before being promoted to the lecturer position.

In general, assistant lecturer is just a rank, and the role is not different from that of a lecturer. In a way, assistant lecturers are junior lecturers.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of assistant lecturer.

  • Assessment processes: Various evaluation techniques, theories, and tools applicable in the assessment of students, participants in a programme, and employees. Different assessment strategies such as initial, formative, summative and self- assessment are used for varying purposes.
  • Investigation research methods: The methods and strategies used to conduct police, government intelligence or military investigation research, as well as the research regulations specific to the operation.
  • Curriculum objectives: The goals identified in curricula and defined learning outcomes.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of assistant lecturer.

  • Cooperate with education professionals: Communicate with teachers or other professionals working in education in order to identify needs and areas of improvement in education systems, and to establish a collaborative relationship.
  • Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
  • Use data processing techniques: Gather, process and analyse relevant data and information, properly store and update data and represent figures and data using charts and statistical diagrams.
  • Interpret current data: Analyse data gathered from sources such as market data, scientific papers, customer requirements and questionnaires which are current and up-to-date in order to assess development and innovation in areas of expertise.
  • Prepare lesson content: Prepare content to be taught in class in accordance with curriculum objectives by drafting exercises, researching up-to-date examples etc.
  • Monitor developments in field of expertise: Keep up with new research, regulations, and other significant changes, labour market related or otherwise, occurring within the field of specialisation.
  • Teach university class: Instruct university students in the theory and practice of a certain subject or field taught by an assistant lecturer or professor with the aim of enriching their knowledge.
  • Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
  • Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
  • Assess students: Evaluate the students’ (academic) progress, achievements, course knowledge and skills through assignments, tests, and examinations. Diagnose their needs and track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Formulate a summative statement of the goals the student achieved.
  • Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
  • Analyse test data: Interpret and analyse data collected during testing in order to formulate conclusions, new insights or solutions.
  • Provide teacher support: Assist teachers in classroom instruction by providing and preparing lesson materials, monitoring the students during their work and helping them in their learning where necessary.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Write scientific papers: Present the hypothesis, findings, and conclusions of your scientific research in your field of expertise in a professional publication.
  • Operate scientific measuring equipment: Operate devices, machinery, and equipment designed for scientific measurement. Scientific equipment consists of specialised measuring instruments refined to facilitate the acquisition of data.
  • Perform classroom management: Maintain discipline and engage students during instruction.
  • Provide assistance to lecturer: Assist the lecturer or professor by doing several educational tasks including helping with the preparation of lessons or the grading of students. Support the professor with academic and scientific research.
  • Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
  • Liaise with educational staff: Communicate with the school staff such as teachers, teaching assistants, academic advisors, and the principal on issues relating to students’ well-being. In the context of a university, liaise with the technical and research staff to discuss research projects and courses-related matters.
  • Develop course outline: Research and establish an outline of the course to be taught and calculate a time frame for the instructional plan in accordance with school regulations and curriculum objectives.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of assistant lecturer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Learning difficulties: The learning disorders some students face in an academic context, especially Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and concentration deficit disorders.
  • Statistics: The study of statistical theory, methods and practices such as collection, organisation, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. It deals with all aspects of data including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments in order to forecast and plan work-related activities.
  • University procedures: The inner workings of a university, such as the structure of the relevant education support and management, the policies, and the regulations.
  • Electronic communication: Data communication performed through digital means such as computers, telephone or e-mail.
  • Scientific research methodology: The theoretical methodology used in scientific research involving doing background research, constructing an hypothesis, testing it, analysing data and concluding the results.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of assistant lecturer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Assist in the organisation of school events: Provide assistance in the planning and organisation of school events, such as the school’s open house day, a sports game or a talent show.
  • Guide international students: Support international exchange students with their cultural adjustment in a new community. Assist them with settling in a new academic environment.
  • Record test data: Record data which has been identified specifically during preceding tests in order to verify that outputs of the test produce specific results or to review the reaction of the subject under exceptional or unusual input.
  • Liaise with educational support staff: Communicate with education management, such as the school principal and board members, and with the education support team such as the teaching assistant, school counsellor or academic advisor on issues relating the students’ well-being.
  • Provide information on study programmes: Provide information on the different lessons and fields of study offered by educational institutions such as universities and secondary schools, as well as the study requirements and employment prospects.
  • Manage student relationships: Manage the relations between students and between student and teacher. Act as a just authority and create an environment of trust and stability.
  • Report test findings: Report test results with a focus on findings and recommendations, differentiating results by levels of severity. Include relevant information from the test plan and outline the test methodologies, using metrics, tables, and visual methods to clarify where needed.
  • Promote education course: Advertise and market the programme or class to potential students and the education organisation with the aim of maximising registration numbers and allocated budget.
  • Develop scientific theories: Formulate scientific theories based on empirical observations, gathered data and theories of other scientists.
  • Conduct quantitative research: Execute a systematic empirical investigation of observable phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques.
  • Manage resources for educational purposes: Identify the necessary resources needed for learning purposes, such as materials in class or arranged transportation for a field trip. Apply for the corresponding budget and follow up on the orders.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Assist students with their dissertation: Support university students with the writing of their paper or theses. Advise on research methods or additions to certain parts of their dissertations. Report different types of errors, such as research or methodological errors, to the student.
  • Develop scientific research protocols: Develop and record the procedural method used for a specific scientific experiment in order to enable its replication.
  • Work with virtual learning environments: Incorporate the use of online learning environments and platforms into the process of instruction.
  • Assist students in their learning: Support and coach students in their work, give learners practical support and encouragement.
  • Oversee extra-curricular activities: Supervise and potentially organise educational or recreational activities for the students outside of mandatory classes.
  • Design scientific equipment: Design new equipment or adapt existing equipment to aid scientists in gathering and analysing data and samples.
  • Perform background research on writing subject: Run thorough background research on writing subject; desk-based research as well as site visits and interviews.
  • Conduct qualitative research: Gather relevant information by applying systematic methods, such as interviews, focus groups, text analysis, observations and case studies.

ISCO group and title

2310 – University and higher education teachers

  1. Assistant lecturer – ESCO
  2. Lecturer Job Description – Betterteam
  3. University Lecturer Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  4. What Is an Assistant Lecturer? – Practical Adult Insights
  5. Featured image: By Flixtey – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on January 14, 2023

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