Ye' Old Signature Block Question again

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mdg1775, Jul 15, 2004.

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  1. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

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    When is it okay to utilize a Masters Degree in a signature block. For example

    John Doe, M. Ed.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Han

    Han New Member

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    I think when it is your highest ranking degree, it is acceptable. For a sginature block, or on business cards. I don't put it on in industry, but maybe in the academic setting it would be very useful.
     
  3. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    I don't use my degree on my business cards, because 99.99% of the people I deal with at work couldn't care less that I have a Master's degree. :D

    I do, however, use it on the syllabi for the courses that I've taught. It's only fair for students to know the credentials of their instructor.
     
  4. boydston

    boydston New Member

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    Exactly. If you're an M.D. and people need to know the credential then it is important. Likewise if you're a counselor or maybe even a social worker. Otherwise it appears that you're flaunting your education. Understatement is generally the wiser statement.

    And context makes a lot of difference, too. When I was a minister in Texas I used the "Dr." title because it was an accepted practice there and because it seemed to add credibility to the church (and we needed all the credibility we could get :)). In California, where I am now, it adds very little credibility for most people and is perceived as snobish, so I hardly ever use it. And I'm most comfortable with that.

    What has been said about honorary degrees (a Mark Twainism -- or pseudo Twainism?) seems germane to credentials in general (from memory): "An honorary degree is like silk underwear -- feels nice to wear, but you wouldn't want to show it off." Obviously he would have been shocked by contemporary American fashion – as well as our infatuation with credentials.
     
  5. Tireman4

    Tireman4 member

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    I agree with Bruce. When I am teaching it matters. The credentials are there to fortify the teaching. In the real world, it really doesnt matter. I dont use them. Another item. When I am teaching, I refer to my students at Mr/Ms and they me. It develops a rapport between the two.
     
  6. maranto

    maranto New Member

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    Q. "When is it OK?"

    A. Only when you are British. :D

    Outside of a few instances, the only folks (in the US anyway) that I've seen use their masters degree in signature blocks are those who have MBAs, MSWs, MPHs, or some other vocationally-specific degree. Very rarely will you see someone annotate their name with an MA or MS. That doesn't mean that it is improper... just not common.

    Cheers,
    Tony Maranto
     
  7. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner New Member

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    There is a wide range of opinion on this subject. Much depends on the profession and the organization. Having spent more than a few years as an administrative manager with responsibility for making documents look "right', let me offer this opinon; which is only my opinion.

    Q. When to use degree based post-nomials?

    The very first question should be "Does using the post-nomial add or detract from the document? Or, is it neutral?" If it detracts then leave it out. If it adds or is neutral then consider...

    2: Is the use ethical? In that it does not imply some expertise that I do not hold. Example, preparing a history of the town for the local genealogical society and signing as "John Smith, MA" when your MA is in bio-ethics and not history... If the MA is in history, then it adds to the document's credibility and probably should be included. Many professional organizations specify the proper use of post-nomials by their members.

    3: Is the use traditional? Use of PhD when you have one is almost always traditional in the world of education. Use of other terminal degrees is also more than a little common in that world. Likewise, use of MBA is very common in banking and finance while MA is not as common in that environment. Many terminal and professional degrees are very common in daily contacts (MD for example) while some others are not common and may just imply an aire of superiority that the user did not intend nor desire. Daily social use of MME or MFA will probably raise more questions than any benefit of use is worth.

    3a: ...unless you're an indepent contractor/consultant who relies on daily contacts for future business -- in which case, those questions can open doors...

    3b: ...using an earned (or reputable honorary) doctoral title in a social setting is generally accepted. With the exception of medical doctors, it is generally more acceptable to use the post-nomial than the pre-nomial/honorific in social writing and the honorific "Dr." in speaking. Unless writing a husband and wife as in "Dr. and Mrs. John Smith"...

    4: Is it more appropriate to use a pre-nomial/honorific than the post-nomial? Physicans are general addressed and introduced with the pre-nomial Doctor to the point that in many circles that word is assumed to mean medical doctor. In closely related fields, it is often best to use the post-nomial to avoid confusion (or even accusations of fraud). An example might be the case of a physiologist working in a hospital setting who could be known as "Dr. John Jones" or "John Jones, PhD" -- in that medical setting, the latter is less confusing. Either is correct. "Dr. John Smith, MD" is never correct written usage.

    5: Is it being used appropriately in a chain of post-nomials? It is very common (and generally appropriate) to use "John Smith, MD, MPH" or "Sue Jones, JD, MS (taxation)" -- or in chain with certain credentials such as "John Jones, RN, MSN" or "Sue Franklin, CPA, MBA" or with certain professional affiliations in the manner "John Smith, MD, FACS" or "Sue Franklin CG, MA". At the same time, "John Jones, RN, BS" is not traditional usage but isn't wrong.

    Using "John Smith, BA, MA, PhD" is seen by most as repetitive at best and pretentious at worse.

    ~~~~

    Just a few thoughts....
     

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