why does my school have so few professors? Mechanical engineering

<p>I'm a mechanical engineer major and there are only 4 professors, the rest are associates and assistants. when I looked at faculty from other colleges, the majority of them are professors. Why is this? And will the lack of professors decrease the quality of my LORs if they're coming from associates/assistants?</p>

<p>Assistant/associate professors just as capable as full professors, at least from the perspective of undergraduates. The department could have had a lot of faculty retire recently, but I don't think it really bodes poorly for the quality of education you will receive. If you were being taught by adjuncts, postdocs or grad students, then I would start to worry.</p>

<p>People can get promoted to full professor for all sorts of arbitrary reasons, so don't take the professor hierarchy as something that's extremely rigid.</p>

<p>Some schools (and within them, some departments) make it more difficult for associates/assistants to get full professor status which means the junior ranks work that much harder than at the schools that grant full professorship to practically everyone in relatively short order. So the scarcity of full professors could be a good sign.</p>

<p>Those that haven't yet achieved full professorship are generally younger and therefore tend to be somewhat more current (obviously a generalization that does not apply to all academics). </p>

<p>So I agree with gthopeful that the presence of lots of associates and assistants is not necessarily a bad thing.</p>

<p>DoubleD, you do not specify how many "the rest" is: if it is 7, then no big deal, but if it is 24, then that is a big deal.</p>

<p>At the University of Idaho, I only took classes from two full professors in my whole curriculum - and one of them was the journalism school director. Even longtime faculty had a long road to get there.</p>

<p>The hierarchy at most places starts with assistant for untenured new-hire faculty, then promotes to associate upon grant of tenure. Beyond that, at the schools I'm familiar with, getting to full professor is a competitive endeavour based on research, service and teaching productivity.</p>

<p>i think a couple got promoted or unless I really miscounted, but there's 6 professors. The other 19 are associate, assistants, instructors</p>

<p>Just to be clear, an associate professor is someone who is established in his/her career with a good publication and scholarship record. Most associates are tenured faculty members, although some newly hired ones may be untenured until they prove themselves to the university as educators. These non-tenured associates usually have their tenure cases begun almost as soon as they arrive.</p>