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

Jana Fortier (fortier@STUDENTS.WISC.EDU)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 09:39:37 -0600

Maybe I inhabit a land (Madison, WI) of perfectly civil students w/ no
gender biases (not!)... but no one ever ever called a female prof by "Mrs.
x"! Students usually say, "Professor x?" in address. or they use the
professor's first name,& this is done w/ male & female educators.

Matthew is right, I think, in that students don't understand the academic
distinctions b/n lecturers & ph.d. holding professors of different ranks.
Since the issue is not that complicated, it indicates that we tend to hide
our academic positions. Is it embarrassing to us? Do we hegemonically
assert that we're all equal and use the name "professor" when in fact some
of us languish in adjunct hell while others rise quickly through the
academic ranks? I think the gloss "professor" is being usedhegemonically
more & more thesedays to hide the disparity between academic work rights &


>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 (