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LoR from lecturer, is it ok?


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There are some who would tell you that rank matters for some adcom members and would encourage you to look for professors higher up in rank than a lecturer, yes. It's not a hard-and-fast no-no, though, it might depend on the circumstances.

For instance, one of the directors of the comp program for my MA (which was in lit) is a full-time faculty member but of the "field service" rank (meaning she is not tenured but rather on a long-term renewable contract). My DGS tries to persuade most people not to ask her for a recommendation because of her rank, though he didn't do so for me because (a) I was applying to rhet/comp PhD programs and she was therefore in a position to speak to my preparedness for the field, unlike many other potential recommenders I had from my lit degree, and ( B) and because I had worked closely with both her and the other director as the comp program graduate assistant.

Edited by runonsentence
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The definition of "lecturer" is a bit too broad to really be helpful here. That said, here are some suggestions, depending on circumstances.

If you're going for a PhD, it would be best if all of your writers had at least that degree- otherwise, they can't really comment as accurately on your preparedness for that course of study. Ideally, they would also be someone who is/has been in the position of supervising doctoral students- but this isn't always an option.

You skipped at least a rank in there, going from instructor to associate professor. I'd say most of the time an Assistant Professor is fine- they have the necessary qualifications.

Assuming reasonable qualifications, you want to go for the faculty that have worked with you the closest. They are in the best position to write you a letter- see the above example by Runonsentence.

A lot of it is also field dependent, and you didn't give us a field to work with.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for such a late reply, I didn't set the notification options properly. I'm sending my application to several Comp Lit programs, and I'd especially like to work on storytelling. I took part in a seminar and wrote a final paper about the same subject with this lecturer, so I thought it was an appropriate person to ask for a recommendation. The only doubt I had was about the academic rank of this person, who actually is a Senior Lecturer, but since you both said it is enough, I think I'll go with that. Thanks for your help!

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