Re: studentadvising...what one shouldn't say

Matthew Hill (mhhill@WATARTS.UWATERLOO.CA)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 09:14:41 -0500

On Thu, 29 Feb 1996, Peter D. Junger wrote:

> Julia Clebsch writes:
> : Female professors are not "Mrs. NAME." They, like their male
> : colleagues, are "Professor NAME" or "Dr. NAME."
> Surely this depends upon the institution where one professes and
> whatever it is that one professes. My style is Mr. Junger; it would
> be very strange at the law school where I teach--or at any law school
> that I have attended or taght at to address a male professor by any
> style but Mr.
> And, of course, there are other institutions where in the humanities the
> style of ``Professor'' is considered a real put-down, and the title
> ``Dr.'' is an insult. Senior acacemics are known by their last name
> and their juniors are addressed as ``Mr.''--always assuming that they
> are masculine. I have been told that this is true of the University
> of Chicago; and I remember at Harvard in the fifties a relatively
> junior faculty member coming close to throwing a tantrum when some
> student--quite innocently I fear--made the mistake of addressing him
> as ``Professor''.
> --

At our institution students tend to refer to anyone who stands in front
of a class as Professor, that includes teaching assistants. They simply
have no notion that there are distinctions of academic rank or qualification.
One of my profs in grad school used to explain that he prefered to be
styled Doctor, since he had earned that degree. Professor was merely
something he had been given. One of my former colleagues would retort
when called professor "That is the title given to the piano player in
a brothel". I have only known one person with such experience and I never
thought to ask him what he was called in that phase.

Matthew Hill (