Call me Laura! Really!

So, I decided to write up a little post here just to make sure you all know that you can call me Laura! Really! During the first week, I see people trying all kinds of forms of address in the emails they send me, which is not surprising given all the different levels of formality in different departments, offices, programs, etc.

Well, being online like this, and not even having an academic department (I'm employed by the Dean's office in the College of Arts and Sciences), I think it's just fine if we use first names. So, I'll call you all by your first names, and I hope you will feel fine calling me by my first name too.

I also feel obliged to say something about academic titles, since it is something the university does not really make very clear. I do have a Ph.D., so it's technically correct to call me "Dr. Gibbs" (although that always sounds so formal! eeeek!), but I do not have the title of "professor." So, because I am not a "professor," that means it is actually not correct to call me "Professor Gibbs."

Instead of being a professor, I am an "instructor," someone who teaches classes at the university, but without tenure, also known as "contingent" or "adjunct" faculty, or "junior faculty" (although you won't hear that term used much anymore: probably because a lot of us junior faculty are kind of old, ha ha). Luckily, my job is a very good one, as adjunct jobs go. I teach full-time, and I have a very reasonable course load, teaching three online course sections every semester, around 90 students total. Most university adjuncts work in far less desirable conditions: part-time, at low pay, without benefits, etc. You might be surprised at how much university teaching is done by adjuncts: contingent faculty now make up 73% of the academic workforce! (You can read more in this informative article at Inside Higher Education.)

So, just to repeat, you really can call me Laura! No need to call me Dr. Gibbs... just "Laura" is fine.

And for those of you who are into vintage film, have you seen the marvelous movie Laura? If not, it's a must-see! More about the film at Wikipedia, which is also the source for this poster:

And here's the trailer! Of course, I have nothing in common with this film noir Laura (played by the lovely Gene Tierney) except for the name, ha ha.