Carlotta Berry says she isn't into titles, but in order to gain respect in the classroom, she has to make efforts to showcase her education and experience in the field.
Berry is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She wrote about how asking students to call her Dr. Berry changes dynamics.
When I introduce myself in the classroom, I'm Dr. Berry. And I insist on being Dr. Berry.
Titles in the academy are inconsistent at best. I have colleagues who would prefer to be called by their first name, or nicknames like "Bone Saw." But they are mostly men, and almost all white, and they have that luxury. As an African-American woman in a mostly Caucasian- and male-dominated field, I don't.
Some find my insistence on this formality a bit pretentious or arrogant. But they don't understand my story, and that of many other women and people of color in the academy.
Having worked with thousands of students, I know for a fact that for many -- though by no means all, or even most -- there is already a presumption that I, as a female and African-American, am less qualified than my white male colleagues, or at the very least that I was hired in order to meet a double minority quota.
Berry joins The Daily Circuit to talk about her piece.