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(Slate)   Today's first world problem is brought to you by a college instructor who is upset students call her by her first name because she isn't a professor or a doctor   (slate.com) divider line 198
    More: Dumbass, teachers, Flagler, Inside Higher Ed, Dead Poets Society, University of New South Wales, colleges, professors  
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6708 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Mar 2014 at 7:05 AM (32 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-14 07:59:22 AM  
The instructor needs to move to Japan for this kind of treatment.
 
2014-03-14 08:02:42 AM  
"Today's first world problem"

Wrong. It's a USA problem, because of their obsession with stupid titles and passive agressive "politeness". The rest of the world got rid of that crap several decades ago.
 
2014-03-14 08:05:24 AM  

All Latest: "Today's first world problem"

Wrong. It's a USA problem, because of their obsession with stupid titles and passive agressive "politeness". The rest of the world got rid of that crap several decades ago.


New South Wales is in the US?
 
2014-03-14 08:05:26 AM  

Somacandra: FTFA: I myself feel rankled when someone who knows full well I have an earned doctorate refers to my male peers as "Professor" or "Doctor" yet calls me "Ms. Schuman." It happens all the time, and I often hear a sneer in the "izzzzz."

Not a doctor or professor? Submitter failed reading comprehension. And what she says is very real. I have female colleagues complain that former students of mine in her classes will refer to me as Dr. _______ when talking to her and then casually address her by her first name when they damn well know that she is Dr. _______. I see it with my female colleagues and African-American colleagues of both genders all the time.

Different colleges have different cultures. I once taught at a small liberal arts college where students and professors were encouraged to be on a first name basis. I never liked it but I played ball. At the larger institutions, you walk in and tell them up front you are Dr. so and so or Prof. so and so. Any rank, whether Lecturer, Assistant, Associate or otherwise, is entitled to be addressed as "Professor" when s/he is the "Instructor of Record" and thus responsible for the class to the registrar and department.


That was one of the things I found difficult going back to college in the US. Strangely enough I was on first name terms with most my lecturers and it freaked out the younger ones. I haven't had to use titles and last names since I was like 15 years old.
 
2014-03-14 08:05:28 AM  

Aar1012: OhioUGrad: Could just be me, but I was raised to always refer to someone by their title (if you know it, if you don't it's Mr. or Ms.), and that includes calling someone doctor ______ if they have a MD or PhD unless they ask you to address them otherwise. I had a few professors that said "you don't have to refer to me as doctor" and others that preferred to be referred to as doctor. It's up to the individual, but have respect for them and address them by their title and last name until they instruct you to do otherwise.

/dnrta

I had a Vice President at OU tell me that I could call him by his first name. I was an 18 year old freshman that just started so I had to pass since I didn't find it respectful. I had a lot of respect for the guy since he was spending his time in a Freshman intro class.


I think I've met more people in higher ed. that just like to be addressed by their first name than their title.

/were they the instructor?
 
2014-03-14 08:09:30 AM  

Somacandra: FTFA: I myself feel rankled when someone who knows full well I have an earned doctorate refers to my male peers as "Professor" or "Doctor" yet calls me "Ms. Schuman." It happens all the time, and I often hear a sneer in the "izzzzz."

Not a doctor or professor? Submitter failed reading comprehension. And what she says is very real. I have female colleagues complain that former students of mine in her classes will refer to me as Dr. _______ when talking to her and then casually address her by her first name when they damn well know that she is Dr. _______. I see it with my female colleagues and African-American colleagues of both genders all the time.

Different colleges have different cultures. I once taught at a small liberal arts college where students and professors were encouraged to be on a first name basis. I never liked it but I played ball. At the larger institutions, you walk in and tell them up front you are Dr. so and so or Prof. so and so. Any rank, whether Lecturer, Assistant, Associate or otherwise, is entitled to be addressed as "Professor" when s/he is the "Instructor of Record" and thus responsible for the class to the registrar and department.


Professors are entitled to be addressed as "professor." All others are "Mr." or "Ms." or whatever is appropriate. Speaking personally and for myself alone, with a Ph.D. from a top-ranked university and damn near 30 years in higher education (including twice serving as dean), I don't really give a hoot what the students call me just so long as they do their work, read, study, learn, and grow. If a student asks, I give them these options: Dean, Professor, Doctor, Colonel, or <first name>. Beyond that, it doesn't matter at all.

Reading your message and the original article appears to indicate that some folks have a seriously privileged view of the world. Well, there's that or the possibility of a teeny, tiny, little, bitty ego that bruises way too easily.

All the shiat in this world and someone has to get all crossways over titles? Ye gods!
 
2014-03-14 08:10:30 AM  

Animatronik: Any teacher with a PhD. should be addressed as Dr by students. If you have a Ph.D. and work in a regular job, expect to be Mr. or Ms.


I work with a lot of highly educated scientists and PHD's from one of the most repesected engineering institutes in the world.  Some get pretty frickin uppity if you don't call them "Doctor".    Yes, they suck.  But we are not here as equals. They are heading up some pretty big projects and I'm just on the team.

Typically   with superiors I address them as "sir" when in a group, in private discussion  I call them by thier first name.  It's actaully all about respect which comes through in your tone and demanour.  But we're pretty formal around here.
 
2014-03-14 08:10:39 AM  
Anybody ever work with a jerk who had a PhD and insisted on being called Doctor by his colleagues?  That is truly obnoxious.  We're peers.  A PhD in physics doesn't magically entitle you to respect when you work in a field totally unrelated to physics.

I used to get into frequent arguments with a guy who would pull out a "that's DOCTOR HisLastname to you!" whenever he was wrong and didn't want to admit it.  I insisted he refer to me as Grand Nagus MyLastname on a few occasions and he didn't seem to get the joke.
 
2014-03-14 08:12:43 AM  
Are you in an academic environment? Play by the academic rules. Students use the titles of instructors. Colleagues are equals.
 
2014-03-14 08:13:13 AM  
Author:  "I'm better than all of you and it irritates me that you don't understand that or properly bow before my greatness."

Hey, author, go fark yourself.
 
2014-03-14 08:13:31 AM  
I used to manage a mailing list, as in list of addresses to post things to, of alumni from Oxford university. All the men on the list were addressed as "<Firstname> <Lastname> Esq." because it then didn't matter whether they were Mr, Dr, Prof, Sir or whatever.
 
2014-03-14 08:14:06 AM  
"Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low."

Fist fights over a parking space is not surprising in academia, so this little rant was pretty ho-hum.  But if you really want to see all the shades a complexion can go through, insist the pretentious academic address you by the military rank you've earned.  Then turn to the academic that isn't an insecure, effete nebbish and introduce yourself by your first name.

"Then it's Major Laobaojun, to you."  Turns around.  "Hi, I'm Lao, what department are you with?"
 
2014-03-14 08:14:23 AM  
She just added several floors to her Ivory tower with that article.
 
2014-03-14 08:16:58 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: The person who fondles my balls once a year (no, I'm not talking about Mrs. PCoC) is a physician.


If they're an M.D., then they have a doctorate.  Which makes them as much a doctor as you.
 
2014-03-14 08:17:57 AM  
All but one of my teachers with doctorates insist on being called by their first name.  The only one who insists on being called doctor/professor is an insufferable prick.
 
2014-03-14 08:18:08 AM  
*checks that UNSW PhD woman's profile*

Well, she's teaching Asian History... I'm not too sure what she's expecting considering most of the people doing it are weaboo's just waiting for their requirement to study in *insert yellow fever flavour of the month country* so I'm not too sure what she's expecting. 
I guess it doesn't help that one of her books is titled "Modern Women in China and Japan: Gender, Feminism and Global Modernity Between the Wars " (We can see where this is going...)

Hell, most of the male lecturers in Civil Engineering are pretty lax. Hell, the 2IC of the school tells everyone to call him Mario because he looks like Mario from Super Mario Bros.

Then again, it's pretty much a non-issue. Something casual/informal like asking a question, you really shouldn't need to insert the title. Formal stuff like having to deal with admin issues or emailing the dean of the school. Yeah, check their title.

/May or may not be attending that university.
 
2014-03-14 08:18:26 AM  
As a college instructor ... but seriously, if she doesn't like them calling her something, she can establish it on the first day.  I know, for some people, especially those new to teaching, that being "tough" is difficult, but starting strong and staying that way makes all of the difference.  One of the newest trends I've noticed is that students are trying to call me just by my last name, with no Mr. or Dr. or anything associated with it.  That got slapped down quickly.

We have a new person is our department who has never taught before (!) and is really struggling with keeping discipline.  She described what one of her class is like and I told her: you realize that, if what you're saying is true, that at least two or three guys are actively sexually harassing you, and several others are openly disrespecting you.  She shrugged and said but there's nothing I can do about it!

\sigh
 
2014-03-14 08:19:33 AM  

strangeluck: I have an idea, from now on, let's just call everyone "Bob."

Regardless of your name, rank, position, gender, etc. Your name is now "Bob."


That idea sucks, Bob.
 
2014-03-14 08:20:20 AM  

fireclown: Cybernetic: I used to teach college courses as an adjunct. I have a master's but not a doctorate. And I didn't give a rat's ass what my students called me. Mostly they called me by my first name.

It's college. Everyone there is an adult.

To me, this professor sounds like someone who is so insecure that she clings to her position and her credentials as some sort of validation of her worth as a person, and regards any failure to properly recognize her position and credentials as some sort of personal affront.

The thing is, that's YOUR call.


Yes, and she's perfectly within her rights to insist that her students address her by some sort of title.

But I think that in doing so, she reveals something about herself, and what it reveals is not terribly flattering.
 
2014-03-14 08:20:41 AM  
If you aren't a medical doctor, you aren't a farking doctor.
 
2014-03-14 08:25:27 AM  
I would NEVER refer to one of my professors by his or her first name. Always "Professor" or "Professor Lastname" to their faces. I had a professor in college who asked we call him Dave, and I just could not do it. I avoided calling him anything to his face. Never had a TA as a teacher, so I can't say what I'd do in that situation.

Even in law school, Professor. Most of them don't have PhDs, so they wouldn't be Doctor. Although I never had a college professor who went by Doctor either. I think it has to do with the distinction someone else mentioned -- I knew them in their professorial (teaching) capacity, so I called them that.
 
2014-03-14 08:27:27 AM  

strangeluck: I have an idea, from now on, let's just call everyone "Bob."

Regardless of your name, rank, position, gender, etc. Your name is now "Bob."


Let's just call everyone "Bruce".

Then we can all walk around singing Monty Python's "Philosopher Song" all day.
 
2014-03-14 08:32:15 AM  
I only refer to female professors by their first name while I am banging them.
 
2014-03-14 08:32:47 AM  
The only people who want to be called doctor finished at the bottom of their class or got a honorary degree
 
2014-03-14 08:33:18 AM  

van1ty: If you aren't a medical doctor, you aren't a farking doctor.


Nope.  As pointed out above, all doctors were originally PhDs, and MDs later adopted the same title for its prestige.
 
2014-03-14 08:33:58 AM  

van1ty: If you aren't a medical doctor, you aren't a farking doctor.


Punkin', if they're medical doctors, they're just physicians who've adopted the pre-existing convention of referring to people who hold advanced degrees (PhD) as "Doctor."  Historically, physicians were "barbers" who got enamored of the titles the smart kids gave themselves and glommed on.

So if you are a medical doctor, you aren't a doctor.  You're a barber.
 
2014-03-14 08:34:13 AM  

OhioUGrad: Could just be me, but I was raised to always refer to someone by their title (if you know it, if you don't it's Mr. or Ms.), and that includes calling someone doctor ______ if they have a MD or PhD unless they ask you to address them otherwise. I had a few professors that said "you don't have to refer to me as doctor" and others that preferred to be referred to as doctor. It's up to the individual, but have respect for them and address them by their title and last name until they instruct you to do otherwise.

/dnrta


For a lot of people, it seems simple courtesy is too much effort.
It's sad, really.
 
2014-03-14 08:35:26 AM  

van1ty: If you aren't a medical doctor, you aren't a farking doctor.


Then why did you feel the need to qualify your first usage of the word?
 
2014-03-14 08:36:48 AM  

Sprachkundige: I would NEVER refer to one of my professors by his or her first name. Always "Professor" or "Professor Lastname" to their faces. I had a professor in college who asked we call him Dave, and I just could not do it. I avoided calling him anything to his face. Never had a TA as a teacher, so I can't say what I'd do in that situation.

Even in law school, Professor. Most of them don't have PhDs, so they wouldn't be Doctor. Although I never had a college professor who went by Doctor either. I think it has to do with the distinction someone else mentioned -- I knew them in their professorial (teaching) capacity, so I called them that.


Just to add a complicating factor, a law degree is a Juris Doctor, which is obviously Doctorate level -- although there's never been any practice in calling a lawyer as "Doctor Barrister, Esq."
 
2014-03-14 08:38:11 AM  
Also, as a former adjunct w/a PhD, it's my observation that most of the jumped-up assholes who insist on titles tend to forget that, even though they are experts, they're always learners.  When teaching a class, even on material I've covered a thousand times, if I don't make it fresh, new, and exciting to me, the poor hoi polloi don't stand a chance.  I should learn just as much as they do. Or vice versa.
 
2014-03-14 08:41:32 AM  

whizbangthedirtfarmer: As a college instructor ... but seriously, if she doesn't like them calling her something, she can establish it on the first day.  I know, for some people, especially those new to teaching, that being "tough" is difficult, but starting strong and staying that way makes all of the difference.  One of the newest trends I've noticed is that students are trying to call me just by my last name, with no Mr. or Dr. or anything associated with it.  That got slapped down quickly.

"

Most students, then, have no idea what to call us, so it's up to us to let them know, immediately. On the first day of class, and in the syllabus, say: "I'm Dr. Schuman." Or, "I'm Martika." Or, "I'm Count von Count." Whatever you want to be called, name yourself this thing in person and on the syllabus-and if the students don't catch on, don't be afraid to correct them (even if, in Gulliver's case, you have to do this over and over). And here's one for the ladies: If you ever get called "Miss," don't be afraid to tell them that if they're going to treat you like a dance teacher, they'd best be ready to plié."
 
2014-03-14 08:44:41 AM  
True, it is a first-world problem.  In the rest of the world students would have more respect.
 
2014-03-14 08:46:10 AM  

OhioUGrad: Aar1012: OhioUGrad: Could just be me, but I was raised to always refer to someone by their title (if you know it, if you don't it's Mr. or Ms.), and that includes calling someone doctor ______ if they have a MD or PhD unless they ask you to address them otherwise. I had a few professors that said "you don't have to refer to me as doctor" and others that preferred to be referred to as doctor. It's up to the individual, but have respect for them and address them by their title and last name until they instruct you to do otherwise.

/dnrta

I had a Vice President at OU tell me that I could call him by his first name. I was an 18 year old freshman that just started so I had to pass since I didn't find it respectful. I had a lot of respect for the guy since he was spending his time in a Freshman intro class.

I think I've met more people in higher ed. that just like to be addressed by their first name than their title.

/were they the instructor?


He was the instructor, yes. The only instructor I had that I called by their first name was my 100 level German instructor and that's because she was a grad student with a difficult Austrian name to pronounce.

/Ironically, she was working on a Master's in English.
 
2014-03-14 08:46:51 AM  
At least in my department, there really isn't much consternation about such things -- just possible ignorance by the students as to what the correct salutation is.

For undergraduates in classes:

If your title includes the word Professor (be it Assistant, Associate or Full), you go by "Prof. Lastname"
If your title does not include the word Professor, but you have a Ph.D., you go by "Dr. Lastname"
If you do not have a Ph.D., and therefore are not qualified to be a professor, you go by "Mr./Ms. Lastname"

The last option includes TAs officially, although many of them go on a first name basis due to the almost zero age difference between themselves and their students.

For members of a research group:

If graduate students are present, the group tends to be on a first name basis. If it's a primarily undergrad institution, then it can be a bit more formal, but possibly just calling the Professor as "Boss" or "Lastname" only.
 
2014-03-14 08:47:13 AM  
Can I just call her "Sugar Teats"?
 
2014-03-14 08:51:18 AM  
I teach as part of my job.  I don't care what they call me- Dr. Hero, Mr. Hero, Professor Hero, Glockenspiel, etc, all I ask is that they pronounce my (tricky) last name correctly.  Ironically, most end up calling me Professor which is the one title that's not correct- I'm staff even though I have a Ph.D.  Every year I get a couple who call me by my first name- you can tell it's sort of a "I'm not in high school anymore- can I get away with this?" thing, which is fine by me.

A few years back we had a visiting ABD (All But Doctorate) professor from Africa who refused to call anyone anything other than "Dr. XXXX", even his coworkers in social situations.  He explained that where he came from folks with the title had earned it and that it was only proper courtesy.  There was a minor celebration at one faculty lunch when it was announced that his thesis was accepted and he could start using our first names.
 
2014-03-14 08:51:19 AM  

SirEattonHogg: Can I just call her "Sugar Teats"?


No, broads hate disrespectful terms like that.
 
2014-03-14 08:52:04 AM  
Listen listen listen Linda, honey.
 
2014-03-14 08:53:34 AM  

Aar1012: SirEattonHogg: Can I just call her "Sugar Teats"?

No, broads hate disrespectful terms like that.


How many times do I have to tell you? Don't call chicks "broads"
 
2014-03-14 08:53:55 AM  
moviesmedia.ign.com

Doctor?  Doctor!  Doctor.

/obscure?  surely not.
 
2014-03-14 08:55:06 AM  
I insist my students call me "Captain, oh captain."

Not really; I don't give a shiat what they call me.
 
2014-03-14 08:58:11 AM  

strangeluck: I have an idea, from now on, let's just call everyone "Bob."

Regardless of your name, rank, position, gender, etc. Your name is now "Bob."


upload.wikimedia.org

/need more slack
 
2014-03-14 09:02:56 AM  
None of my professors at university in my undergraduate course gave two shiats if we called them "sir/ma'am", "Professor ([Last Name]), "Doctor ([Last Name])" or their first name, Most of them actively encouraged us to use their first names.

Chances are if a student doesn't respect you, insisting on using your title isn't going to help. And if they do respect you, then you should know that referring to you by your first name or your title doesn't change that.
 
2014-03-14 09:03:18 AM  
I did a few months of teaching when I was between engineering jobs back in 2008.  Some of the students tried calling me Mr. and I told them that they can call me whatever they like but not to be surprised if I didn't respond because nobody in my entire life had ever called me Mr.
 
2014-03-14 09:05:15 AM  
"Don't call me 'Sir,' I work for a living."
 
2014-03-14 09:07:51 AM  

Lsherm: Prank Call of Cthulhu: The person who fondles my balls once a year (no, I'm not talking about Mrs. PCoC) is a physician.

If they're an M.D., then they have a doctorate.  Which makes them as much a doctor as you.



If you want to split hairs, in the US and some other places the MD and DO are both "professional doctorates", meaning that the degree entails a certain amount of classroom instruction and job training.

In contrast, the Ph.D. in most (all?) other fields is a "research doctorate" which contains some small amount of instruction, but the primary content is learning how to do research in that field.

The medical field used to have this distinction- the original title granted to doctors upon completion of a medical program used to be an MB, a bachelor of medicine and/or surgery. The MD was reserved for higher achievement within doctoring. Nowadays a doctor who does research in medicine will probably bear the title MD/PhD, which translates to the tortured "Doctor of Medicine and of Philosophy (of Medicine)".

So to sum up, PCoC was correct. The original degree for what we now call a medical doctor was in fact a bachelor's of medicine, and calling a physician a doctor at that time would have been improper. At some point they decided that everyone with a medical degree should be called a doctor, and muddied the whole situation up. This can be seen in the latin root for both MD and PhD, where the latin word "doctor" literally means "teacher".
 
2014-03-14 09:10:29 AM  
As an adjunct, I'm really getting a kick, etc....

Students have no clue as to the insanity that is official pay grade / title use, at least in my experience. The general assumption seems to be if you're standing in front of everyone and assigning grades, you're "professor", though I can appreciate that for someone with tenure that fights to get research money, maybe they feel like they deserve the title more. I'm fine with Mr. Bunyip, though I still look around for my dad when they say it.
 
2014-03-14 09:15:16 AM  
I am a woman, I teach freshmen algebra.  I try to get my students to call me by my first name.  Most of my students are terrified of math and I want them to not be intimidated by me.  Most of them can't bring themselves to call me by my first name.  I did have one semester where two students in my class already knew me from before the class and called me Zanni.
 
2014-03-14 09:15:38 AM  
Pretty sure most of her students are over 18 and no one should call an adult anything but their first name.

Unless if they are in an inferior position to them, eg. military, etc.   I would never call my boss's by anything but their first name, I am not their servant.

She complains too much.
 
2014-03-14 09:19:28 AM  

Donnchadha: Just to add a complicating factor, a law degree is a Juris Doctor, which is obviously Doctorate level -- although there's never been any practice in calling a lawyer as "Doctor Barrister, Esq."


The Juris Doctorate is a similar situation to the MD. The JD is a professional degree that really ought to be a bachelor's degree. Instead, they award the JD as a primary degree, and if people want to go further in the field they can obtain a JD/PhD, which also translates to the extremely tortured "Doctor of Law and of Philosophy (of Law)".

The ideal situation is that people would just recognize that all fields have a primary degree, some number of secondary degrees, and then a terminal degree. The primary degree means that you're proficient to practice, the secondary degrees mean that you have gained expert achievement in some speciality areas, and the terminal degree means that you're at the top of the field.
 
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