Inappropriate Use of Titles in the 21st Century.
By: Bishop Prof. Rudolph Q. Kwanue, Sr. Ph.D.
As an educator and senior professor with huge wealth of experience in the academic field, I had noticed many wrongly used titles by individuals in the academic field.
Sometime ago, I was asked by a student, who also happened to be one of my best friend in Zambia, Rev. Dr. Victor Daka, to help him with some of those confusing issues that one could be faced with most times, and below are his questions and concerns:
Greetings Prof. Rudolph, there’s this question I really want to ask you. You, being the chief academia in Christian Educational Programs for so many years, and especially as one who confers degrees and titles, is it in order for someone to use two academic titles together at a time, eg, Doctor Professor/Professor Doctor?
And how are the titles properly arranged?
Is it Dr. Rev, Dr. Pastor, or is it the official title before the academic title, eg, Rev. Dr., Prophet Dr., Please, help me to understand.
Well, to answer this question, I’ll use many examples as follows for a more comprehensive understanding.
If you have a thousand degrees, for instance, doctorates, Ph.Ds, Professorship, or awards of different kinds, you shouldn’t use them all before your name, such as Dr. Dr. Dr. Brown King Ph.D, Ph.D, Ph.D. No, this is a wrong use of titles, and most people ignorantly use their titles as indicated above.
The right way to write it should be, Brown King Ph.D or H.DD.
When you’re noticed using Ph.D of H.DD at the end of your name, they already know that you have earned doctorate degree, or you have a (Honoris Causa). So, in this case, there is no need to write Dr. Brown King, Ph.D.
And if you are a licensed professor with a Ph.D, you can write it as Prof. Brown King Ph.D.
If you have more than one Ph.D, you can write it as Brown King PhDs. However, don’t write Dr. Prof. Brown King Ph.D or Prof. Dr. Brown King Ph D, because these are wrong ways of using titles.
If you’re a minister of the Gospel, there are some titles that sounds very funny which I will encourage you not to use, such as, Pastor Dr., Prophet Dr., or Prophetess Dr.
It’s funny therefore, when you have such ministerial titles and you want to use it together with your academic titles in such formats. It is advisable to use it as follows: Rev. Dr., which sounds good, than Pastor Dr., Prophet Dr., or Prophetess Dr. These titles could sound very funny when not appropriately used.
Meanwhile, some ministerial titles that sounds very good and are appropriate are: Apostle Dr., Rev. Dr., Bishop Dr., & Archbishop Dr.
If you’re in the prophetic office, or pastoral office, I would recommend that you use the Rev. Dr. title, since Rev. is in relationship to God’s worship. This is appropriate. Am not saying that it’s wrong to use Pastor Dr., or Prophet/Prophetess Dr., but am only saying it sounds funny.
When you have other awards, as well as other academic degrees, just remember that the best place to write all degree title and award information is in your autobiography, curriculum vitae, or your profile information.
You can’t use all such endless list of degree and award titles in some conference centers, public workshops, or in other church programs. This will make people to feel or think that you are a title seeker.
Sometimes, I would rather prefer people address me just as Rudolph, Pastor Rudolph, Bishop Rudolph, or Prof. Rudolph. It makes me just okay. I have received many awards, as well as both earned and honorary degrees, and Ambassador title but should I use all of them before my name? No.
It’s in my autobiography and profile information columns only you will find them.
Why People Love Using All The Many Titles Today
While there are so many factors responsible, here are a list of some very few based on my personal experience so far.
- To manipulatively receive honour from people.
- To earn priority at the high table in public gatherings.
- For a selfish public recognition with the view to commanding undue respect.
- To be served with the king’s portion at events.
- To create avenues for more connections, and to have the opportunity of meeting with those that matters in society.
- To let others know that they are not mean personalities but people of high repute.
And the list could be endless.
There are people who just believe in using so many titles, and most times, from my observation, these are people who find it difficult to spend money, but just want to enjoy other people’s blessings and works.
I am speaking from experience. Mostly, our African ministers love so many titles, and with this, we misplace the love of God and introduce the spirit of pride.
I have seen many African ministers getting angry at people for not addressing them properly with the use of all known titles. This is funny, and my question most times is, were you born with all these titles?
I am a very intelligent person. I have studied human behaviours and cultural differences throughout my international travels, and I have been dealing with millions of people over the past 6 years globally.
Let us stop the use of unnecessarily elaborate and inappropriate titles where not necessary.
You can’t say, address me as as Amb. Dr. Prof. His Cardinal, Archbishop, Chief Apostle Brown, Ph,D., H.DD.
Why all these long titles?
Some people may not invite you to any of their programs because they may feel that you are over qualified to be with them.
Titles are not bad, but the way we use them may not speak good at times.
I’ll advise that we use them when necessarily appropriate, and avoid them where not advisable. And except in our autobiographies, curriculum vitae, and in our profile information, where people can better understand how and where we got them from.
Your readers may judge you based on what you have written. And in some places, your names are more important than titles.
For those who have received honorary doctorate degrees, please indicate by writing Honorary Doctorate Degree H.DD, or Honorary Doctorate Degree in Divinity H.D. Div. The letter H stands for Honorary, and this will help the public to better understand your degree designation.
Conclusively, people can respect you, not just by your thousands of titles, but by your outstanding positive attitude towards people, societies, fellow men, money, and in all spheres of life.
Bishop Prof. Rudolph Q. Kwanue, Sr, Ph.D.