Open Thread

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.


  1. Richard Monath

    Hello. I would like to know the proper way for undergraduate college students to address an adjunct instructor who holds a Master’s degree. Also, how should the instructor address individual students in a small class discussion setting? Thank you.

    • Elizabeth

      The instructor has the discretion to ask the students to address him/her according to his/her preference. So, at the beginning of the term, one could say, “Hello, I’m Beth Smith and I’ll be teaching this section of Sociology 101. You may address me as Beth/Professor Smith.” You don’t have to have a phd or have a full-time position to be addressed as “professor.” However, the culture of the school may be such that “Professor Smith” is not often used, in which case I would default to the usual form of address there. The instructor will address the students by their first name.

    • I always called my professors with a Master’s “Professor” except when they had another title (for instance, some religion classes were taught by a priest who attended seminary, so we called him “Father ___”).

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