Put Some Respect on My Name

Navigating the Use of Academic Titles and Personas


  • Sydney Freeman, JR University of Idaho
  • Ty-Ron Douglas University of Missouri




Scholar, Academic Titles, Scholar-of Color, Recognition


This critical douethographic study investigates the challenges and provides strategies related to the use of academic titles and establishing an academic persona within the academy. Both authors engage in a reflective examination of their life experiences, culture, and values, which have shaped their identities as scholars and professionals. The study then explores the varied challenges that both authors have experienced in their roles as early/mid-career professors. The results of the study indicated that the academy can present some unique challenges for non-tenured faculty, which include the acknowledgement of positionality and authority; students as customers’ mentality; lack of respect for non-dominant norms; ageism experienced by young professors; and issues of peer-ship versus colleagueship as opposed to essential personhood. 


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Author Biographies

Sydney Freeman, JR, University of Idaho

SYDNEY FREEMAN, JR., Ph.D., is an associate professor of Adult, Organizational Learning and Leadership at the University of Idaho. He is a former National Holmes Scholar and has earned professional certifications in the areas of faculty development, online instruction, executive management, and organizational leadership. His research investigates the future of minority serving institutions, the faculty career-cycle, and higher education as a field of study. Dr. Freeman has published numerous journal articles and is the lead editor (with Linda Serra Hagedorn, Lester F. Goodchild, and Dianne A. Wright) of Advancing Higher Education as a Field of Study: In Quest of Doctoral Degree Guidelines (Stylus Publishing, 2014) which received the 2015 Auburn University Graduate School "Book of the Year" Award. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Association of University Administrators and was honored with the “2015 Emergent Leader of the Year” award by the same professional society. This was based on his leadership at Tuskegee University in his previous capacity as director of one of their teaching and learning centers. He serves on multiple academic journal editorial and review boards and is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education. Email: sfreemanjr@uidaho.edu

Ty-Ron Douglas, University of Missouri

TY-RON DOUGLAS, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and an affiliate faculty member of the Black Studies program at the University of Missouri. He earned a Ph.D. in Educational Studies/Curriculum and Teaching with a concentration in Cultural Studies and a Post-Master’s Certificate in School Administration. Drawing on his international background, Dr. Douglas’ work explores the intersections between identity, community space (e.g. barbershops, sports fields, neighborhoods, and churches) and the social and cultural foundations of leadership and education. Email: douglastry@missouri.edu