Barack Obama’s “Part-Time” Professorship

by Kevin Jon Heller

Man, what kind of sweatshop is the University of Chicago?

From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers has high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

Three courses per year is “not full-time”? I teach three courses per year — 9 hours of teaching — and I’m full-time. Academic readers? What’s your course load?

http://opiniojuris.org/2008/07/08/barack-obamas-part-time-professorship/

3 Responses


  1. Man, what kind of sweatshop is the University of Chicago?

    The kind that turns awkward, creepy kids into loyal disciples of history-altering and devastating ideological and economic movements?

  2. 3 courses per year (2 one semester, 1 the other semester) is a pretty light teaching load if you don’t have additional obligations to advise students, do research, attend committee meetings, attend conferences, etc.

  3. loyal disciples of history-altering and devastating ideological and economic movements?

    If the commencement address I heard at the University of Chicago Law School several years ago was any indication, I can only imagine you refer to Socialism.

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