What is the proper way to address an associate dean/professor?

Would it be Dean Smith? Associate Dean Smith? Professor Smith? Mr. Smith? Bill?

Does the context matter? If it’s in a research paper? A formal letter? Email? Face-to-face conversation?

10 Answers

  • Using your examples….

    If its a Dean (even if Associate or Assistant Dean) the address would be Dean Smith. If the person does not have Dean responsibilities but is a professor, then it would be Professor Smith. I would definitely not say Mr. Smith or Bill.

    The context for use matters only slightly. I would use Dean Smith in all communication and reference until given permission to do otherwise. The dean at my college wanted to be called by his first name but none of us did. Some would use Dean Bill, but most of us stuck with Dean Smith.

    It comes down to a display of respect, moreso of the title than the person.

    Hope that helps.

  • It depends on your relative status to the professor.

    Assuming that you are not a Ph.D. student or another professor, you would generally address this person by a title and the last name. Any of the following should be appropriate:

    Professor Smith

    Dr. Smith (Dr. is an appropriate title for a person who holds a Ph.D. degree or other similar degree; I assume this is true of this person.)

    If you are in a setting where it’s important that he/she is the dean of the college, I would use “Dean Smith” when talking about this person to others, but not use it to directly address the person in question.

    Depending on the context, it might matter if you are friends outside of the academic setting. But in all academic communications Professor Smith or Dr. Smith is the way to go. Many professors these days also tell their students that it’s okay to call them by first name. Stick with the titles unless the person specifically tells you this, and if you don’t feel comfortable using the first name even then, the titles will still be okay.

    (Again, it depends on your relative status in comparison to this person as well, but once you get into the academic culture far enough, you’ll figure that out.)

    Source(s): I’m an academic. It’s quite a complicated culture, actually! I think it’s important to ask these questions.
  • If addressing the individual face-to-face you use their specific title (If President, use president, if Dean, use Dean, etc…) This would also hold true if addressing a letter or email to them. Every once and a while you’ll have a professor who will let you know that you can drop the title. (For example my college advisor just preferred her advisees to use her first name). But you should use their title until they give you permission to stop using it.

    If you are citing someone in a research paper you should use the proper bibliographical reference. Search MLA or University of Chicago style guides for more info if you’re citing a conversation or lecture.

    Source(s): www.mla.org – mla handbook www.chicagomanualofstyle.org- U of Chicago Style Guide
  • Formal letter: include full title — “Jane Smith, Associate Dean”

    Email, face-to-face: Professor Smith

    Research Paper will depend on what format they’ve asked for in the paper as not all require the instructor’s name.

    Professor Smith would be your standby.

  • Professors at most schools like to be referred to as Dr. Smith or whatever, but if they’re not a doctor then Professor Smith. The same with email, letters, face-to-face, etc. Unless you go to my alma mater, where we call the Chaplain by her first name, Several professors by their first name “Bob,” “Steve,” etc. and we called the old Dean of Students by his hairstyle, “ponytail.” lol. Hooray for small private colleges!

  • I would go with “Dean Smith” if they are a dean, or “Professor Smith” if they are a professor. Do this until and unless they say “Oh, you can call me Joe.” For formal letters, use “Dean Joe Smith” or “Professor Joe Smith.”

    Oh, and if they are a doctor, *definitely* use the Dr. title unless they correct you. Some of them see it as downright blasphemy if you don’t.

  • I believe that generally a person is entitled to be called by the highest title/qualification he has. In most of the English speaking world we address anyone with a PhD as doctor, and there is no special title for a person with a masters, or multiple masters degrees.

  • Context does matter.

    In most cases, they’ll want to be called by their highest title!

    When it’s appropriate to call him by his academic title (Professor/Doctor) is in research papers and grant applications as well as any nominations for awards.

    Any other instance, you should refer to him by his administrative title (Dean). So for emails, face-to-face, phone calls, letters, etc.

    Source(s): Have worked at a medical college for 7 years.
  • if you are talking to him for the first time, you should stay formal, professor or dean smith. (professor in my book). after you first address him, if he tells you what to call him, use that, if he doesnt correct you, keep using what you used

  • Hey, Teach!

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