James Donnelly: Seeks end to writers using irrelevant titles

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Seeks end to writers using irrelevant titles

Can we please stop using the title “Dr.” or degree designation when columnists or letter writers contribute, unless the title and/or degree are a specific indication of expertise on the topic?

This would require dropping it unless the writer indicates in their correspondence the relevance for the degree. For example, a physician has no special knowledge about engineering or politics. A person with a doctorate in English literature would not necessarily have any greater knowledge about immigration policy, as another example.

It is simply a means of separating one’s level of education, which is appropriate only in specific situations. I have seen the letters of several physician colleagues in the Gazette that do not refer to their professional title or degree, and I applaud that.

It is time that we, like many other countries, do not use a degree as means definition except in the context of specific professional or intellectual discussions, and not in the op-ed pages of our newspapers.

James Donnelly