One of St. Catharine College’s professors recently earned an international audience.
Associate Professor of English Dr. Becky L. Meadows was recently published in Times Higher Education, a magazine located in London, England, that serves the United Kingdom. Times Higher Education is a weekly magazine that reports specifically on news and issues related to higher education and is the United Kingdom’s leading publication in this field.
The Oct. 31 edition of the publication featured Meadows’ piece titled “That’s Dr, If You Please.”
The piece discusses Meadows’ recent experiences with the title “Dr” being dropped from her name tag at academic conferences. Meadows notes that it’s a trend she’s noticed at several academic conferences, in which the title is dropped from the names of individuals who have earned an academic doctorate. The explanation she’s been given by conference administrators: they don’t allow the use of the title because other participants might find it intimidating.
Meadows’ remedy is to grab a marker pen and make a correction on her name tag. She argues that “Dr” is possibly the most prestigious title in academia and it typically signifies someone as an expert in her field.
“Those who have sweated through the process of completing doctoral classes, foreign language examinations, comprehensive exams and a doctoral dissertation are certainly deserving of the title,” she wrote in the piece.
Meadows also notes that as a cultural studies scholar, she has noticed a “widespread tendency in our culture to make everything ‘user-friendly’, including people.”
“In their papers, my students refer to major authors and figures by their first names – Stephen King is ‘Stephen’, Edgar Allan Poe is ‘Edgar’, William Wordsworth is ‘William’; even President Obama has become ‘Barack’,” Meadows wrote in the piece.
She wrote that she sees a danger in this practice in regards to power.
“As we all know, he who owns the language wins,” she wrote.
To view the Times Higher Education piece online, go to http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/thats-dr-if-you-please/2008552.article.
Founded in the Dominican tradition in 1931 and sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, St. Catharine College, a Catholic Dominican college inspired by its founders, welcomes all to the challenging pursuit of truth, preparing them to become critical thinkers, ethical leaders and engaged citizens.