June 22, 2018

UCalgary widens use of 'Dr.' title in external communications

Change recognizes and shows respect for highest level of academic credential earned by faculty or staff
Doctoral degree grads, wearing their symbolic multi-coloured convocation gowns, take part in ceremonies this spring at the University of Calgary.
Doctoral degree grads, wearing their symbolic multi-coloured convocation gowns, take part in ceremon Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

You may have noticed we’re calling more people “Dr.” in UToday stories these days. In the past, we used the title Dr. in reference to medical doctors, psychologists with a doctoral degree, and veterinarians. Going forward, UToday and other externally facing publications at the University of Calgary will begin acknowledging academic experts in other fields who have doctorates, the highest degree.

“This change allows the University of Calgary to recognize and show respect for the highest level of academic credential each faculty or staff member has earned,” explains Dr. Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic). “We have heard from many academic staff about this issue — and this change answers those concerns.”

For decades, the Canadian Press Stylebook has been the standard style guide in externally facing official communications at most Canadian universities, including UCalgary. While we continue to be guided by CP style on most style questions, we’re embracing a more inclusive approach when it comes to the use of the title Dr.

“There is merit in recognizing the professional credentials of academics, which also helps position the University of Calgary as an intellectual hub regardless of the audience we are engaging,” says Marshall. “This is a good example of how we adapt to our changing world — and showcase the academic achievement of UCalgary staff.”

The change pertains to online as well as printed publications and other materials such as posters and social media posts. The policy applies to doctoral degrees awarded from the University of Calgary as well as from other institutions. UCalgary doctorates include a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Doctor of Education (EdD), or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). Place the title Dr. in front of the name of the faculty, staff member, or postdoctoral scholar who earned the doctorate. Include the abbreviation for the degree after the name. 

Check out the People section of the UToday Style Guide for details, examples, and exceptions. Another style source for all members of the campus community who write about the university is section 5.04 of the Visual Identity Standards Writing Style Guide.

Send any feedback or questions to UToday@ucalgary.ca.