Anything but Mrs.

Interesting discussion elsewhere about what you want your students to call you. I tell them on the first day that they can call me Professor Mohanraj, Dr. Mohanraj, Professor Mary Anne, just Professor, or just Mary Anne — they’re all fine with me, so whatever they’re comfortable with. (My Asian foreign students especially tend to have a hard time using just my first name.)

My pedagogical goals generally include transparency and breaking down academic hierarchies, enabling them to take responsibility for and ownership of their own learning, etc. (Admittedly, I fretted about this a bit when I was just out of grad school, but ten years in and with grey hair, I feel fully confident in my own authority, and feel the main work I need to do is to break that authority down, not defend it.)

When I’m calling roll, I ask them to tell me preferred pronunciation / nickname, and I mark that on the roll, so I hopefully get it right going forward.

I do feel the need to note that it definitely affects my approach that I’m in a strong, healthy department and despite being NTT faculty, feel well-supported and respected by my colleagues, who generally seem to appreciate both me and my research interests. That gives me a stable base such that, despite being a woman and a person of color, I feel free to follow my instincts towards breaking down traditional academic hierarchies, giving my students the same respect that my colleagues offer me.

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