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Author Topic: Work Signature - Add Degree Abbreviation?  (Read 11303 times)
javagai
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« on: August 15, 2008, 10:58:58 am »

Hi all,

I work full time as a staff member in a learning center, particularly running the writing tutoring component.  In my position, I communicate with faculty, deans, students, and librarians.  I have a relevant MA and am a dissertation stage PhD Candidate but so far have not had these education titles added to my email signature.  It now includes only my position title.

My question is should I add the MA and PhD Candidate tag after my name? I wondered if it might help communicate to everyone that I am actively involved in scholarly research and help raise the profile of my center.

Then again, since I don't actually have the PhD yet, I feared it might just seem like I'm trying too hard.

Thank you!

javagai
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gennimom
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2008, 11:21:10 am »

The MA would be okay, but I wouldn't add PhD Candidate, or worse, ABD after your name. The impressions I've gotten from these fora is the last two would be pretentious.
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expatinuk
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2008, 12:41:47 pm »

No... do not add the MA after your name. It just looks silly. Unless, of course, you live in the UK where everyone puts all the alphabet after a name!

Expatinuk, BA, MMA, MMC, Ph.D. FRSA, FEADiM
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gennimom
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2008, 12:57:15 pm »

I defer to Expat, then.
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llanfair
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2008, 4:47:57 pm »

It depends on whether the MA (or PhD candidate, &c) is significant in the context of the letter.  For eg., when writing ahead to archives about research I planned to do there, I always included "PhD candidate, History" on the line after my name in the signature.  If it's a question about your grad-student computer access directed at your IT department, then no, it's probably over the top.

I don't think it's inappropriate to tell people your current status, if they would find it helpful to have that information.
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mended_drum
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2008, 11:28:14 pm »

Don't do it. 

I must admit, however, that I'm tempted to add "She Who Installed Her Own Kitchen Faucet This Summer" to mine, but I did have help from a colleague and a steak knife, so I would be misrepresenting my true accomplishments, alas.
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languagepolice
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2008, 10:43:12 am »

Well done on the kitchen faucet, mendeddrum! I have some exercise equipment arriving soon that will surely test (and likely exceed) my engineering skills...But as long as you indicate the collaboration with your colleague and the (inventive) use of technology, I don't see how it would misrepresent your accomplishments...

By the way, I don't see how it is pretentious or misrepresenting to state two facts: that one has a M.A. and that one is writing a dissertation. However, I get it that until you have the PhD in hand, other academics may not care about these facts, and showing insensitivity to this dynamic of academic culture could be counter-productive.
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llanfair
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2008, 11:41:38 am »

I don't see how it is pretentious or misrepresenting to state two facts: that one has a M.A. and that one is writing a dissertation. However, I get it that until you have the PhD in hand, other academics may not care about these facts, and showing insensitivity to this dynamic of academic culture could be counter-productive.

If I were the OP, I'd stick to one or the other.  Before I defended, my sig line included "PhD candidate" but not "MA".  No sense beating people over the head.
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psychprof
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2008, 6:49:35 pm »

I think that you include the degree that you've earned--the MA--and not the PhD candidate. PhD candidate really isn't a degree, and I don't think it portrays what you want "I'm involved in scholarly activities and so my center should be thought of in a better light." To faculty members with terminal degrees it will seem like a stretch, and most other folks won't get what a PhD candidate it.

I think that the best way to affect your image is by what you do with/for students and faculty members rather than your email signature. And, of course, by publishing! When you do publish, be sure to have it announced in your university's faculty/staff newsletter and on your personal web page.

Best wishes on the PhD progress!! When you get the PhD be sure to have that put in the newsletter and on your website!!
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