(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2017)
Universities worldwide have long dealt with the core issue of how an institution may convey information respecting individual faculty members. The information that is conveyed relates to (1) rank, (2) status, and (3) function. The information is usually embedded within what is commonly called the rank and titling of faculty within the university. Information conveyed by titling is directed to the community of academics and also to critical stakeholders (students, outside funding agencies, and others).
This post considers briefly the complexities of titling faculty, revealing of the underlying issues that tend to make any real sort of principled construction of a coherent structure for titling faculty unlikely. It suggests that current efforts to reform issues of rank and title may not be able to avoid conflicts between principles of consumer protection and those of equity and solidarity among faculty workers.