Another "Dr." debate

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by DCross, Apr 27, 2002.

  1. DCross

    DCross New Member

    A friend of mine got her PhD from Walden. Now she is in law school. I know professors like to refer to students as "Mr." and "Mrs." so and so.

    Question is.......should professors refer to their students as "Dr." so and so if they have a PhD?
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Interesting question. When I was in grad school one of the students (an older woman) had a Ph.D. and was a pt time prof at another school. What to call her did not come up because we called the prof "Dr." and he called us by our first names. Therefore as a student she was called by her first name just as the rest of us were.

    I suppose that if one were going by protocol then if you are using *titles* such as *Mr.* & *Ms* then it would be approriate to refer to her as *Dr.* because that is her title. On a practical note I do not know that there is a way to bring up that issue in a class where you need a grade to the prof giving you the grade. The prof may not know she is a Ph.D or may know and want to bring her down a level. Bringing it up may be misinterpreted as her being snobby or trying to assert her level comparable to the prof. (especially if the prof is a JD - in other words not really a *Dr*). In other words bringing it up may be detrimental.


  3. I say No. I believe that titles such as "Dr." should be used only when professionally relevant in the context in which the individual is being addressed.
  4. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Off the cuff...

    IMO, If a doctor is going to subject himself under the authority of a professor in a "student-teacher" relationship, then protocol would not dictate that the professor address his student as "doctor." However, this is old school thinking.

    In today’s classroom setting, how many professors are addressed as:
    • professor or
    • doctor or
    • by first name?
    It probably varies by college and by university.

    Have times changed? Yes, they have. When I was a little boy, citizens dressed up for court as if they were going to church. If a citizen showed up in court wearing a T-shirt and jeans, some judges would cite them for contempt. As we became more lax, judges would merely send people home. Today, I see T-shirts and braless females in court and the judge doesn't bat an eye.

    The title of "professor" or "doctor" has seen a similar loosening up compared to when I was a kid. Some professors won't bat an eye if you address them on a first name basis.
  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Another "Dr." debate

    1. I agree with Gert.

    2. If the doctorate holder didn't tell anyone, they wouldn't know, rendering the point moot.

    3. It is insufferable when the holder of a doctorate corrects someone using Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. outside the professional context, and maybe sometimes even in it.

    4. The use of Mr./Ms./Miss/Mrs. is still correct, even if the person holds a doctorate.

    5. If it were me, I'd chose "Mr." so as to fit into the team and not distinguish myself in an irrelevant way.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Another "Dr." debate

    On point (3) I humbly disagree. I think it is no more incorrect than a woman who is called *Mrs* correcting someone by informing them that she is a *Ms*. The first reaction of the hearer may be to get their back up but the person is simply expressing a preference for a particular and recognized means of address. Most Ph.D.'s I know would ask they be refered to by their first name just as most people would, rather than being called Mr. or Ms. (which can be just as pompous in certain situations). I realize their are some *doctorates* who take the address issue to the extreme. I can think of an Ed.D. who insists on Dr. even when those around him are referred to as Jane or Fred.

    On point (4), the use of Mr. Ms etc may be somewhat correct but the correct title if others are referred to as *Mr.* or *Ms* is *Dr*. To deliberately not do so is to be rude and can be demonstrative of envy. If you were not in a somewhat formal situation you probably would not be referring to the others as Mr. & Ms.

    On point (5), I am onboard in that I would not want to be called *Dr*, heck I don't like being called *Mr* unless we are in a very formal setting. I am Myles, und das ist alles. That is simply a sign of our culture. I am a supervisor & even my boss' boss is not referred to by anything other than his first name.


  7. Craig Hargis

    Craig Hargis New Member

    I have mentioned this in another thread, but it is kind of fitting here. I remember old UCLA catalogs would indicate the professor(s) that taught a particular course. It would say "Mr. Jones" or "Ms. Smith" NEVER Dr. even though every single one held a Ph.D. I don't think UCLA was intending to insult its own profesors. I don't know why they did that but I have seen it in a number of course schedules and catalogs. Come to think of it I don't remember many of my professors much stressing the Dr. thing. A number of my professors have been RC priests and of course they were always Father and never doctor though a few had two doctorates. I suppose only priests drop Mr. entirely.

  8. Nosborne

    Nosborne New Member

    I went through law school with a practicing M.D. He was called "mister" just like the rest of us. Physicians are usually referred to as "Dr" in professional, academic, and social settings, unlike the Ph.D, so I guess the rule is "no titles".

    Of course, none of our professors was called "Dr." either, even in the most formal circumstances, even if they had Ph.D.'s.

    Nosborne, JD
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Another "Dr." debate

    I very much agree with this. While it is a natural mistake to refer to someone with the title of "Doctor" as "Mister" or "Ms.," it's rude to do it on purpose. We saw that with the MIGS lawsuit against Steve. It was obvious, petty, and rude.

    Good point.
  10. mamorse

    mamorse New Member

    I must agree with North, both in theory and in practice. At my university, I teach two distinctly different cohorts of graduate students. Our traditional MPH, MS, and PhD programs are dominated by students in their early twenties. None of them, to my knowledge, possesses a doctoral degree, and I refer to them by their first names. (They refer to me as "Dr. Morse", but I wouldn't take offense if they referred to me by my first name.) We also have a non-traditional MPH program for established professionals. Many of these students have an MD, DDS, or PhD degree. We have also occasionally enrolled OSU faculty members from other departments. The relationship between this student cohort and the faculty tends to be more collegial in nature. Thus, if such a person refers to me as "Dr.", I feel that I'm being disrespectful if I don't acknowledge them by their titles. More often than not, we simply refer to each other on a first name basis.

    Mark A. Morse, PhD
    Associate Professor
    Division of Environmental Health Sciences
    School of Public Health
    The Ohio State University
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Yes, I suppose these days with as few faculty slots as there are the title *professor* is even harder to come by than *Dr.* and therefore a preferable form of address.


  12. blahetka

    blahetka New Member

    In my MBA courses we had a few physicians and a couple dentists. I don't remember any of them referred to as Dr. by any of us. One of my professors tended to be formal, and I think he referred to one of the physicians as Dr., but it only happened once.

    This same prof. gave me some good advice, which his mother gave him upon completion of his PhD. It was, "Never be so full of yourself that you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say 'Good morning, Dr. <insert name here'."

Share This Page