Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm a Turtle in so many ways

Today is the deadline for turning in the grades for my students, and I'm not done. I'm almost done, but damnit if I'm not a perfectionist Instructor and want to write substantive and useful comments on each and every paper. Oh yeah, and there was that weekend that I ignored grading all together, but we won't discuss that.

As soon as I finish these grades, I'll post a Turtle KAL update. In the meantime, look over there ----> someone has finished!! Give a shout out to Kimberly at Some Bunny's Love for her completed Clapotis! Good job!

Another question -- does anyone know the rules regarding use of Professor vs. Adjunct Faculty vs. Instructor. Wifey and I had a battle a couple weeks ago because one student said Professor Mafia, and I didn't correct her. Wifey feels strongly that you can't be called Prof without a PhD (which I SO don't have). I sign all my emails to the students with my first name Mafia and refer to myself as Mafia the same way in class. I wrote Instructor on the syllabus. I've never used the P-Word, but she said I'm being a "POSER" for not explicitly correcting them. Needless to say, I was extremely pissed off, called her an insensitive ass, sulked for hours calmly explained my point and put it behind us. First of all, I'm not sure she's correct on that Professor=PhD thing. I think back to my community college days, when lots of Profs didn't have PhDs, but they were still called Professor. At my leafy women's college, everyone was called Professor. Frankly, I don't want to called Professor because it feels inaccurate, but should I explicitly correct people? Needless to say, I'd like to prove Wifey wrong and rub her nose in it find the correct answer. I'm curious. Anyone know?

15 comments:

mamacate said...

Wifey isn't going to like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor

Good ol wiki.

I wouldn't go around calling MYSELF professor if I was an adjunct (though my father does it wrt my mother, who is terminally ABD and teaches in a high school/early college and as an adjunct at NYU). But Ms. Academic Manners says you are not obliged to correct a student.

Alex said...

Students are perpetually awkward about addressing their teachers, and if they call you Professor, it's probably because they feel uncomfortable calling you by your first name. So, correct or not, the kind thing to do is to let it slide!

andrea said...

mmm, i don't know the exact rules but i remember calling all my teachers professor. partially it was my ignorance of where exactly they were in the whole academic/tiered structure thing, but also it was due to knowing that some (usually the best!) teachers had been passed for tenure or professorship, and i felt that was totally unfair as they were excellent teachers, and so i figured they deserved to be called professor. ;)

Rhonda said...

I like the "wikipedia" definition!! Since I'm an expert [yup, you know it, hehe] I won't correct anyone if they want to call me Professor. :)

Zabet said...

It depends on where you're teaching.

I work at a University in the Bible Belt, let's call it State U. At State U, "Professor" is a job title. As in, you have a contract with the University to teach students and head committees and do research, etc. Professors have tenure at State U. "Assistant Professor" is another job title. These are usually tenure-track positions, i.e., the person in the job eventually wants to become a Professor at State U and abuse students the way only tenured faculty can. "Instructor" is the next job title down - at State U for some reason we don't use the term Adjunct Faculty, though our Instructors would be called Adjuncts anywhere else in the country. Instructors often are contracted to teach only and are paid per credit hour; no benefits or sparklies. At State U, you must have at least 18 grad hours in the field you are teaching. You do not have to have a PhD to become an Assistant Professor or Professor, but cases where the faculty does not have a PhD are EXTREMELY RARE and should be considered non-existent.

State U also has a large attached Community College system. I'm not sure exactly what their rules are about job titles, though I do know they have a tenure system because I know someone who was denied it. Also, from what I've been told, the Community College folks tend to value actual work experience highly, so having a Master's degree with a decade of working in the field is just as impressive to them as just having gotten your PhD.

I have taught at State U as an Instructor and asked my students to just call me by my first name. This flips them out to no end. I get a lot of "Miss Firstname" (I do live in the Bible Belt after all - this is a common gesture of 'familiar formality' in the South) and can't quite get them to wrap their brains around "Ms".

Hope that helps

Grace said...

I work at a law school within a University and each faculty member is "Professor" for teaching purposes. The few that have PhDs also use the professor label in class. On their web page or CV you find the "Dr." I think the Professor tag goes for anyone teaching at a secondary or higher level. It is an easy tag for the students. Then they do not have the title quandry with anyone (are you Ms, Miss, Mrs, Mr?). If you teach, you are Professor.
We do have adjunct faculty who are usually lawyers with an acute knowledge of the course subject matter and the students call them Professor just as they do our long-term faculty.

Janey said...

In Canada, anyone who is teaching at a university is a professor, PhD or not.
You can tell Wifey that that is too much information for students to have - whether you have a PhD or not.
It's a lot easier for them to just call all teachers at university "professor", than try to remember which ones should be called what.

Janey said...

It's me again. (I wish I was as fast a knitter as I was at hitting the Send button for comments.)

What I wanted to include in my previous comment - and of which I was again reminded, when I read wikipedia, was:
I worked in England at the Council for National Academic Awards many, many years ago. (Started off in the typing pool - that's how long ago it was.)
My job one day was to address letters/envelopes. Being a recent - Canadian - university graduate, I addressed all the letters to people who were both doctor AND professor, as "Dr. ...". And those who didn't have PhD's as "Professor ...".
Then I had to re-do the correspondence because the title of "Professor" is more sought after than (i.e. it beats) "Dr." in England. Unlike in Canada.

So zabet is correct to say "It depends on where you're teaching" - and that statement is even more correct in different countries.

Elspeth said...

They're hiring at my school for Assistant Professors and none of the candidates I've seen have PhDs, although they used to require it. I say do whatever makes you feel comfortable. If someone else has a problem with it, that's their problem.

Thanks for the Turtle KAL, it's keeping me honest! (And making me jealous when I see all that green!)

Elspeth said...

Oh, and a comment about law schools -- a friend of mine has a J.D. and explained to me that it is considered the highest degree you can get in the law field -- a Juris Doctorate -- so that's their version of a PhD. He's also teaching at our school, but obviously he's more qualified than the applicants with just a Masters' since now he's got the J.D. and the Masters' (I'm in a Masters' program ...)

Jeanne said...

I went to a Quaker college, and we called everyone on the faculty "professor" unless they had a doctorate, but were also encouraged to call them by their first names. More Friendly-like.

bff&exgf#2 said...

I wholeheartedly agree - one does not need to have a PhD to be a professor.

However, I never call any of them professor...it's too, you know, master/underling for me. I always just call them by their first name.

Emily said...

Yep, true about UK, here a professor is top of the tree academically, it means you have a chair - either departmental or personal (eg you might have the university's chair in History, or you might have a chair that has been created for you and won't exist afterwards in Disability History)

Kellee said...

We have some funny fomality rules back in GA, but we actually used 'Professor' for everyone EXCEPT PhD's and TA's. PhD's were Dr.______ and TA's were (usually) first name basis (I personally never met a TA with a PhD, but I suppose they could exist, and that would have put us in a pickle, wouldn't it?). It didn't really matter what a teacher said. Anyone that asked us to use their first name usually got just one step down on the respect ladder. ie: 'Professor' instead of Dr., 'Prof'instead of 'Professor' or if they kept insisting, Ms\Mr+ first name, but no way, no how would anyone FROM the South IN the South call a teacher by their given name.

As a matter of fact, I think I hear my mamma gasping in displeasure right this second at the very thought of it. ;)

p.s.
All of these rules become completely negotiable if the said authority figure goes out and hits a few pints with you. Just sayin'.

Alice said...

I'm knitting while I'm marking... does that loose me academic points?

I'm in the UK, so you have to be VERY high up to be called a professor, as a PhD student who is actually running a course (not just a TA) I get issues though, like the system automatically putting "TA" on my college website. So annoying, as I'm researcher first and lecturer second and I want to use my wepage to talk about these things

but they can't put "lecturer" as that is a specific full time job with a proper contract, so they settled on "researcher/ teacher" which is nice and general and much better than all these hierarchical terms.