How would you call someone who gives classes to students despite not having a degree in teaching nor it being their main occupation ?

For example, a lot of "teachers" I had in college were actually professionals in the field they were teaching, who would only do this for 2 or 4 hours a week in addition to their main job.

In France I have heard the term "Chargé d'enseignement", which litterally means "In charge of teaching".

Is there a similar word or expression in English ? Or would you just call them teachers ?

  • 3
    Guest lecturer?
    – Kreiri
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 9:47
  • Are you looking for British or American English?
    – ssav
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 9:58
  • In InE, it's 'external faculty'. I'm one of them! ^-^ We don't have degree in teaching, but we have experience and expertise in the subject
    – Maulik V
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 10:04
  • Maybe honorary teacher, lecturer, or professor. Also he may be a called a guest lecturer.
    – Khan
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 10:40
  • 1
    @Khan - I would say a guest lecturer refers to someone who is asked to give one lecture or two lectures in a class. This person would not be the normal instructor, and may not even get paid for the appearance.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


As a general rule, they aren't called teachers at or above the university level, they are called instructors or professors. The term you are looking for is adjunct, and you could call this person an adjunct professor, or an adjunct faculty member.

NOAD defines the word like this:

adjunct (adj.) (of an academic post) attached to the staff of a college in a temporary or assistant capacity : an adjunct professor of entomology. [as n.] both adjuncts and tenured professors tend to inflate grades.

  • I did not know about 'teacher' only being used below university level. Thank you for your answer !
    – Streltsov
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 8:21
  • 2
    I'd be wary of using "professor" as a catch-all term here, as it's a specific academic title that not everyone giving a lecture will have (someone with a postdoctoral position giving a lecture course - which is very common - is not a "professor"). "Lecturer" is much broader.
    – Jez W
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 13:12
  • @JezW - I concur with your wariness, but the boundary lines are muddled. It depends on a lot of things: Who is looking for this term, and why do they want to use it? Are we looking for a term that a university will use to clarify academic rank? Or trying to explain what the students should call these individuals in the classroom? (Also, my answer doesn't say that professor is the right term to use – it says that "teacher" is the wrong term. "Lecturer" is a good addition to my answer, though; thanks for commenting.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 21:44

I tend to use the word "instructor" in this case. The New Oxford American Dictionary has the definition "A person who teaches something:" which I think covers your use, too.


An effective adjunct professor is someone who is:

  • A clear communicator
  • Able to teach with ample real-world experience
  • Able to show confidence teaching and presenting to a class
  • Technologically savvy: can utilize email, different online learning systems and other ways to communicate with students
  • Passionate about specific academic fields and education in general.

I am an adjunct nursing professor with over 20 years ecperience. I have a ADN,BSN, MSN. I feel that I deserve to be called a professor.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .