Addressing Assistant Professor-correct title

<p>Help! In a letter, when referring to an assistant professor, should it be "Professor Smith", "Assistant Professor Smith", or "Mr. Smith"?</p>

<p>We think "Professor Smith" is correct, but want other parent's advice. Thanks.</p>

<p>It's Professor Smith, no matter whether the person is Assistant, Associate, or full professor. It's Dr. if the person is a lecturer.</p>

<p>You can use "Dr." for any person who has a Ph.D. , Ed.D. Psy. D. or MD. "Professor" can be used for any type of professor. Some lecturers (and, rarely, some professors) lack doctorates.</p>

<p>This topic is become one of interest to me. When I went to school at U Mich, they were all "professor". My kids say the same at the schools they go/went to (Wesleyan and Columbia). In my and their experience, asking to be addressed as "doctor" would seem stuck-up. But at the lower-tier school I work at, the Professors who have Ph.ds insist on being called "Dr". It seems so pretentious to me, but they take absolute offense if they don't get that "doctor" title. To me, Dr. So-and-so is the person you go to for a check-up, but the profs at this school are really possessive of that title.</p>

<p>So, out of interest, do the profs at any schools you or your kids know of go by professor or doctor?</p>


<p>Actually, historically, only Ph.D.s were allowed to call themselves doctors! In England, GPs are called doctors and specialists (far more prestigious in that class-conscious society) are called Mr.
I think anyone who teaches at the college level ought to be called professor.</p>

<p>My father, who had a PhD, was always addressed as Dr. I think that was in the days when few people had advanced degrees. My husband, who has a PhD, never goes by Dr. But I don't make him call me Master, either, even though I have a Masters degree.</p>

<p>My DH doesn't call me Master either.</p>

<p>It's implied, isn't it? ;)</p>

<p>In sixth grade, we had a "Study Skills" teacher with a PhD and she made us call her "dr." :rolleyes: (not that i dislike the title for honorable usage - three of my teachers this year have doctorates in their subject and so the class refers to them as Dr.)</p>

<p>Garland (and others), there's a regional difference in how to address professors. It's more common in the South to use the deferential title "Dr" than it is in the North. </p>

<p>Where I teach (midwest), it's pretty much always "Professor," but "Dr" is also appropriate for a faculty member with a Ph.D.</p>

<p>I have a Ph.D. and in my business (biotech R&D) they are very common. And we all call each other by first names regardless of who has which degrees. Anyone with a Ph.D. who invokes the title Dr. is usually laughed at as pompous. About the only time I ever use it verbally is when trying to get past an uncooperative secretary of a colleague at another institution.</p>

<p>The one colleague I can never bring myself to call by his first name is my major professor from grad school. To me he will always be "Dr. ______".</p>

<p>I had been taught, once upon a time, that "doctor" for a PhD was appropriate in a professional setting but not a social one. "Doctor" for an MD (or DO or DDS or anything medical) was always appropriate.</p>

<p>Interestingly, in Germany, if your advanced degree is from an institution outside of Germany, you may not use "Doctor" unless you appeal to some government institution and receive permission (and take a test, I think). Titles are taken very seriously here. The title Professor is also an earned one, and valued highly. My D's school teachers (high school level) have all sorts of titles and abbreviations in front of their names, and it is considered appropriate to use them. "Mr. Over-student director" is a very important title.... When her US on-line school principal (female) had to communicate with her German school direktor (male), we had to run interference to make sure she addressed him with all due respect!</p>

<p>In general, when uncertain, I say err on the side of caution, use the highest title that might be appropriate, and wait to be corrected.</p>

<p>Mackinaw, the regional difference all the more emphasizes how odd it sounds to my ear for the profs in this Northeastern school to insist on "Dr." I agree it's not wrong, but it does seem, to echo Coureur, pompous.</p>

<p>At our middle school, there's a gym teacher with a D.ed degree who also is always Dr. Gym teacher.</p>

<p>I was reading a guide the University of Chicago sent to my daughter. They said that they resolved the problem by calling everyone Mr. or Ms.; sort of reverse snobbery, I guess, since most of them are PhD's.</p>

<p>I attended a high school where the teachers always have gone by first names, my oldest has never attended a school where most of the teachers ( inc college) go by an honorific, but this year is the first year when my youngest is attending a school where the teachers go by Mr/Ms. Very hard to get used to.</p>

<p>Back in the 60s and 70s, at least in the Northeast, at higher toned institutions, it was "Mr." We would call them "Mr," and they would call us "Mr." (or Miss or Mrs). "Professor" was ok but much less common, asst and assoc professor would never be called with the modifier, and rarely as "professor." "Dr," except for an MD, was, and still is to my ear, a little vulgar, and of course a PhD was never just "Doctor" but "Doctor Smith."</p>

<p>At the Big Ten school where my husband teaches Dr. and Professor are both common. I do remember, Coureur, when he first started calling his PhD advisor by the advisor's first name. He was honored by the collegial relationship that implied.</p>

<p>When my children were in Quaker elementary school the title Teacher, as in Tr. Jane or Tr. Lee, was one of respect. Now I have one child in a HS that uses first names, one that does not. And one PhD HS teacher is known affectionately as "Doc".</p>

<p>When I was a graduate student, there was a sort of unofficial rule that after you got your Ph.D., it was acceptable to have people, including students, call you Dr. for one year, and one year only. After that period, yes, we graduate students found it somewhat pretentious for someone to keep on insisting on having the title used. I only used it for making airplane reservations.</p>

<p>Garland, I agree it's odd in the midwest where I'm located now to address a professor (PhD) as doctor, but it does happen -- actually sometimes I get introduced that way at non-academic events. Sometimes suck-up students will address me as doctor, but I know what they're trying to do!</p>

<p>I also have to confess that when I took my first academic appointment, which was at a university in the south, I was still ABD, and therefore being addressed as "doctor" by students and staff was an embarrassing reminder that I'd damn well better finish my dissertation. When I did in fact finish it up in January of my first year, I felt that I'd finally earned the title (at least at that university).</p>

<p>We had an aquaintance that insisted on being called "dr" but in an area where there seems to be a fairly high percentage of post grad education, it seems unecessary to cling to a title. It can be assumed that someone has a doctorate in many fields given the level of their job/research, when somebody insists on using it, it just makes them sound insecure. I see people using titles at work, but socializing , no.</p>

<p>I've been addressed by all three: Dr., Professor, and Ms. The Ms. was at an East Coast LAC where no one used titles. I would say that Professor is safest for you in your situation. I think that most people with doctorates feel it's pretentious to use the title Dr. outside of the campus environment. My husband and I have doctorates and the only people who ever refer to us as Dr. are his parents, who are very hung up on the supposed prestige of it. (We laugh about it). Once, my father-in-law had given our names to some type of investment salesman, who called our home with a sales pitch. (Our degrees are in economics, btw, so this was not welcome). My husband took the call and the man continually referred to him as Dr. My husband began asking a lot of in-depth questions about these investments and finally the salesman said, "Look Dr., don't ask me about how I run my business and I won't ask you how you run your hospital!" :)</p>