I've recently been hired as an assistant professor and will be starting this fall. As I'm beginning to be included on departmental e-mail and in certain decisions, I'm starting to interact (at least via e-mail) with my colleagues. How should I address them? As a graduate student and postdoc, I've always addressed faculty as Prof. X unless I was already very familiar with them or unless they've told me to do otherwise. Is it strange to continue to do this as a professor? I don't want to be disrespectful, but at the same time it feels a little stuffy to continually refer to everyone as Prof. X until they suggest I do otherwise.

  • 4
    This depends on culture. What country are you in?
    – user1482
    Jun 3, 2014 at 20:49
  • 5
    Wait... As a postdoc you still used titles and last names? Seriously?
    – JeffE
    Jun 3, 2014 at 22:34
  • 1
    Not with my a advisor or profs I've known a long time, but generally, yeah. It seemed a bit formal but I was always taught it was "respectful". Now, however, I'm beginning to think it may be too much. Jun 3, 2014 at 22:42
  • 3
    At least in the US, it would be a little strange to refer to your colleagues by anything other than their first names, unless they indicate otherwise. OTOH, you could always refer to them as Prof. X, and if they correct you, you could deflect by saying that you're getting used to thinking of yourself as one :)
    – Suresh
    Jun 4, 2014 at 0:20
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    @aeismail not if you always use their first name. Given the OP hasn't started yet, the future colleagues are somewhat like random academics.
    – StrongBad
    Jun 4, 2014 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


In the US, you generally address colleagues of a similar status by their first names—so your fellow faculty members would definitely be addressed informally. This would of course extend to collaborators and acquaintances in other departments.

I think the only exception to this would be in the case of formal communications—an official memorandum or letter from a faculty member to someone in the university administration, for instance. But otherwise, in any oral or informal written correspondence, I'd stick to first names.

(In other countries, follow the appropriate local traditions, as they may be very different from US standards.)

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