When I started working in Ecuador in 2013, there was no specified tenure and promotion system. As a result of changes to higher education in that period of time, such a system was developed over the subsequent years, and I formed part of the Big Categorization at the end of 2016.
In this post, I wanted to briefly explain the procedures that are used for tenure and promotion in Ecuador, and I hope that it may shed a light on academia in Ecuador for those potentially interested in finding an academic position here.
In terms of tenure, or titularidad, it is something that you earn after a few years of working at the university. As such, tenure in Ecuador is similar to tenure in Europe or North America. You can gain tenure by passing a concurso de meritos y oposiciones. This procedure is an evaluation that typically consists of a review of your portfolio, followed by a trial lecture and time for discussion with a panel of experts. In my case, as I fell in the Big Categorization when all university professors were ranked into the system, my university developed a point system and did only a written review of our profile, based on this point system, to determine if we passed the tenure requirements.
The different levels of professors are:
- Profesor auxiliar (assistant professor)
- Profesor agregado (associate professor)
- Profesor principal (full professor) and investigador principal (full professor)
Each of these levels have three different categories, numbered from 1 (junior) to 3 (senior). FWIW, I’m an investigador principal titular.
Unlike the American and European systems, there are two types of full professors: profesor principal and investigador principal. The difference lies in the teaching assignment. A profesor principal (as an auxiliar and agregado) may be assigned up to four courses per semester (of three contact hours per course weekly). You can apply for course load reduction for research reasons or if you take on an administrative role. An investigador principal, on the other hand, teaches much less, typically one course per semester.
Given the difference in teaching load, the promotion requirements for profesor principal and investigador principal are slightly different as well, and an investigador principal needs to have a stronger track record in research.