A faculty is a division within a
university. The concept of a university with different faculties for different subjects dates back to Al-Azhar University, [citation|title=A History of Christian-Muslim Relations|first=Hugh|last=Goddard|year=2000|publisher= Edinburgh University Press|isbn=074861009X|page=99] which had individual faculties for a Madrasahand theological seminary, Islamic law and jurisprudence, Arabic grammar, Islamic astronomy, early Islamic philosophy, and logic in Islamic philosophy.citation|title=From Jami`ah to University: Multiculturalism and Christian–Muslim Dialogue|first=Syed Farid|last=Alatas|journal=Current Sociology|volume=54|issue=1|pages=112-32]
University of Paris, which served as a model for most of the later medieval universities in Europe, had four faculties: the Faculties of Theology, Law, Medicine, and finally the Faculty of Arts, which every student had to graduate from in order to continue his training in one of the other three, sometimes known as the higher faculties. The privilege to establish these four faculties was usually part of all medieval charters for universities, but not every university could in reality do so.
The "Faculty of Arts" took its name from the seven
liberal arts: the trivium ( grammar, rhetoric, dialectics) and the quadrivium( arithmetic, music, geometryand astronomy). In German (and Scandinavian) universities this faculty has more often been known as the "Faculty of Philosophy". The degree of Magister Artium(Master of Arts) derives its name from the Faculty of Arts, while the degree of Doctor of Philosophy(Ph.D) originates within German education and derives its name from the German name of the Arts faculty.
The number of faculties has usually multiplied in modern universities, both through subdivisions of the traditional four faculties, and through the absorption of academic disciplines which have developed within originally vocational schools, in areas such as engineering or agriculture.
North American usage
North American English, the word "faculty" has also come to be used as a collective noun for the academic staff of a university: senior teachers, lecturers, and/or researchers. The term is most commonly used in this context in the United Statesand Canada, and generally includes professors of various rank: Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and (Full) Professors, usually tenured or tenure-track in nature. Members of university administration (e.g., department chairs, deans, vice presidents, presidents) are often also faculty members, in many cases beginning as (and remaining) professors.
Most university faculty hold a
Ph.D.or equivalent doctoratedegree. Some professionalsor instructors from other institutions who are associated with a particular university (e.g., by teaching some courses or supervising graduate students) but do not hold professorships may be appointed as adjunct faculty.
Other than universities,
community colleges and secondary or primary schools also use the terms "faculty" and "professor" to describe their instructors, but this does not hold the same status as a professor in a university. Other institutions (e.g., teaching hospitals) may likewise use the term faculty. In all cases, faculty is a distinct category from staff, although members of both groups are employees of the institution in question. This is distinct from, for example, the Australian usage, in which all employees of the institution are staff, of two types - academic staff (North American faculty) and general staff (North American staff).
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