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Author Topic: How to address search committee members in thank you notes?  (Read 3345 times)
kar123
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« on: December 29, 2006, 4:41:27 am »

I had two interviews at MLA today and want to send thank you notes to the search committee members.  However, Iím not quite sure how to address the search committee members in the notes.  I plan on using the formal way of address on the envelopes (Dr., Mr.), but should I address the notes themselves using just first names, formal address, or complete names?  When I met the search committee members, they introduced themselves using their complete names, so would it thus be appropriate to address them using the complete names?  It seems too informal to use just first names, but it seems too formal to use Dr. or Mr. with faculty members who could be future colleagues.  Any advice would be appreciated.
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sibyl
Do these gray hairs make me look
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2006, 8:25:10 am »

Since you posted at 3:41 am, I'm betting you are too tired or wired to use the search function.  Here are some recent threads that deal with this question.

http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php/topic,30750.0.html

http://chronicle.com/forums/index.php/topic,32168.0.html
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rattusdomesticus
the old rat herself
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2006, 11:20:05 am »

I address the envelope formally:

Bobbi Harli, Ph.D.
Professor, English Department
Blah-Blah U.
street address with room number
city/state/zip

Inside, I use the salutation:
Dear Dr. Harli,

Even if the faculty on the search committee was really, really friendly, I never want to err on the side of familiar until I'm hired. But then I'm 44, so I'm kind of "old school."
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old_school
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2007, 9:09:20 pm »

I address the envelope formally:

Bobbi Harli, Ph.D.
Professor, English Department
Blah-Blah U.
street address with room number
city/state/zip

Inside, I use the salutation:
Dear Dr. Harli,

Even if the faculty on the search committee was really, really friendly, I never want to err on the side of familiar until I'm hired. But then I'm 44, so I'm kind of "old school."

me too!
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Simplify.
nocalprof
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Posts: 826


« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2007, 9:15:35 pm »

In my science field, formal titles like that would definitely be weird.

I addressed thank-you notes by first name. (Dr. Jane Doe on the envelope)

I was introduced to these people by first name at the interviews, so maybe that's a good guide - address them the way you were introduced to them.
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kate7
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2007, 10:05:14 pm »

At one job I applied to, I already knew several search committee members on a first-name basis based on interactions at conferences, and had corresponded by email (on a first name basis) about panels we were on for a few years prior to applying for a job in their dept. After I applied for the job, the search committee chair (who is over 30 years older than me) and I sent many emails back and forth to arrange details of my campus visit, and in some of them hu addressed me by first name, and in others hu addressed me by last name. I tried to follow suit, though I used hu's first name whenever there was no precedent. It would have seemed strange to go back to calling hu "Professor Lastname" after years of calling hu by hu's first name. But I'm not sure if I did it correctly.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 10:06:57 pm by kate7 » Logged
old_school
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2007, 10:22:03 pm »

It would have seemed strange to go back to calling hu "Professor Lastname" after years of calling hu by hu's first name. But I'm not sure if I did it correctly.

I always struggle with this a bit myself. This informality in the US is sometimes quite confusing.

For me, seniors would always be addressed in a formal way as a sign of respect for their age.

However, I feel that in the US this would almost be considered subservient if this was done when the senior member referred to you by your first name, so I generally try to stick to using the same way they address me regardless of age (well, unless I am meeting older, non-colleagues, then it's generally Mr./Mrs/etc) ... I guess my moniker is well chosen :-|


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Simplify.
ptprof
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2007, 10:34:05 pm »

This is an interesting thread, I would use the formal title in a letter "Dear Dr. Soandso".  However whenever I've communicated by email I've always addressed the person by their first name.  Usually I am responding to an email in which the individual addressed me by my first name. 

On a similar note, I never refer to anyone on the SC as "Dr" except in formal written communication.  These are the people you might be working with for years to come, you certainly want to get started as an equal and not coming across as a grad student.
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nocalprof
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2007, 1:31:16 pm »


...This informality in the US is sometimes quite confusing...so I generally try to stick to using the same way they address me regardless of age......



That's a good point!

One of the faculty members I just met on an interview is a definite old-school Brit.  (The only one I met who was dressed formally.)  He addressed me as "Dr. so-and-so", so that's how I addressed him in return.

Interestingly, the other faculty referred to him only by his last name when speaking of him.
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