What’s in a name?

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What should I call you?

Simple enough question, right?

But here are many options (and much discussion) as to how to address a professor:  Doctor; professor; Mr., Mrs.,, Ms., Miss; or…first name.

The first name issue has been kicking around for a while, with many ‘traditional’ professors objecting to students addressing them by their first name.  I came across this flowchart via Twitter today.  It raises some interesting issues, including different standards for graduate and undergraduate students.

For me, titles are nothing more than that.  If it’s respect that you want in the classroom, you earn that through your actions, not through some title.  I pursue collaboration between teacher and student in the classroom and that can lead to some informality.  Yet, I know that many are concerned by the growth of such informality.

So, is it Ok to use first names?

Thinking about curriculum

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From David Perkins

Our department has put off –for now—discussing our curriculum and the future of journalism in a formal way, though we obviously talk about it all the time in committees and one-on-one. I was intrigued when I came across this piece, amid the comments on an interesting MediaShift post on entrepreneurship and teaching journalism. It is a summary of a curriculum review at Florida International University, written by Mike McQueen, the former journalism department chair.

The post is a year old, and the faculty discussion was back in 2000—God knows, the world has changed since then.  A LOT.  Still, I thought we (and that includes students) might wish to comment on—or at least reflect on—these pieces as we consider what we do at UMASS in a time of media revolution.  (No other word will do.)

I disagree with some things in McQueen’s statement—the disparagement of internships, for one thing–and the put-down of journalism students in general at the end. It does not even mention multimedia. He seems  to assume that newspapers are still the medium.  At the same time,  I agree with the importance of basic literacy and critical thinking, for example.  (He might have added “watchdog thinking.”)

Are there  “position statements” that other journalism programs have   come up with after similar periods of reflection? They might be worth posting here as well—even if we’re different, and must make our own way.



Mike McQueen

January 31, 2008 9:59 AM

This article is right on-point as to what journalism schools should be teaching. I’m a former journalism department chair. In 2000, our faculty sat down and considered all of the changing media landscape, first, and then what it means for journalists second. We held seminars where we got ideas from the leading thinkers in the field of journalism and in journalism education. Then we revamped the school’s curriculum to incorporate all the thoughts we heard.