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Margin Notes

And the winner is…

As readers can see from the previous post, below, the “Professor vs. Dr.” poll has closed. We had an excellent response, and the results were very close: 47 percent for the Professor honorific and 53 percent for the Dr. honorific. This seems to vindicate our current practice of using Dr. when referring to anyone who holds a PhD.

BY LÉO CHARBONNEAU | FEB 23 2009

As readers can see from the previous post, below, the “Professor vs. Dr.” poll has closed. We had an excellent response, and the results were very close: 47 percent for the Professor honorific and 53 percent for the Dr. honorific. This seems to vindicate our current practice of using Dr. when referring to anyone who holds a PhD.

What interested me most about the poll, however, were the comments from our readers. I had no idea such a seemingly simple issue could be so complicated. In particular, I couldn’t help but chuckle by the comment by Reuben Kaufman that if we weren’t careful, we’d soon get our knickers twisted over the distinction between assistant, associate and full professor. Currently we’re very egalitarian, referring to all professors simply as “professor,” regardless of rank. We had, in fact, mused about whether we shouldn’t be making the “rank” distinction, but perhaps our readers would consider such a move simply rank!

This is all food for thought, although I’m not sure yet how we will proceed in terms of editorial policy. And, although the poll is closed, feel free to continue to add your comments, using the comments function. We love to hear from you.

ABOUT LÉO CHARBONNEAU
Léo Charbonneau
Léo Charbonneau is the editor of University Affairs.
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