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Earned or Honorary?

Started by Steven W Bohler, July 11, 2023, 09:28:29 PM

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Steven W Bohler

Is a Doctor of Literature from Concordia Seward an earned or honorary degree?  I do not see anything listed on the school's website about such a degree, so I am assuming it is honorary.  But you know what they say about assumptions....

Jim Butler

Quote from: Steven W Bohler on July 11, 2023, 09:28:29 PM
Is a Doctor of Literature from Concordia Seward an earned or honorary degree?  I do not see anything listed on the school's website about such a degree, so I am assuming it is honorary.  But you know what they say about assumptions....

CUNE has no doctoral programs. Therefore it must be honorary.
"Pastor Butler... [is] deaf to the cries of people like me, dismissing our concerns as Satanic scenarios, denouncing our faith and our very existence."--Charles Austin

Donald_Kirchner

It's honorary.

Grr... My pet peeve, those with honorary doctorates who go around calling themselves Dr So-and-so. Seems like half the clergy roster is called Rev Dr So-and-so!

And that includes myself. I have a JD,  a professional doctorate. Not only would no lawyer ever call himself or herself  Dr So-and-so unless they had a PhD, it is irritating when Synod sends all my mail to Rev Dr Donald Kirchner. It's just wrong. It's a conflict of titles!

But Synod loves titles....
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Steven W Bohler

Thank you both for confirming my assumption.

Michael Slusser

Quote from: Steven W Bohler on July 11, 2023, 09:28:29 PM
Is a Doctor of Literature from Concordia Seward an earned or honorary degree?  I do not see anything listed on the school's website about such a degree, so I am assuming it is honorary.  But you know what they say about assumptions....
It's probably a D.Litt.--Doctor of Letters. It's one of a few commonly used honorary doctorates. D. Sc. and LL.D and D.D. (Divinity) are other commonly used degrees. D.Mus. is another. The Ph.D. is seldom if ever awarded as an honorary degree.

Some elite institutions award a doctorate on the basis of long-term achievement, often a record of scholarly publishing or artistic production that is the envy of their peers and far outclasses a mere doctoral dissertation. 

RC bishops are accorded a D.D. simply on the basis of their episcopal ordination. It says nothing about their theological expertise, although they may have that, too.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

Dan Fienen

#5
I have mixed feelings about honorary doctorates. Especially as I am in no danger of acquiring one. They have no real academic standing, not even as much as a professional degree. To claim academic style for an honorary degree as a regular thing is pretentious at best.


Yet it is an honor granted for some reason. Certainly, I would think, worthy of mention in one's bio and c.v., the diploma and citation tastefully framed and displayed on one's I Love Me Wall in office or living room. It is a good thing to be recognized and honored, just don't let it go to your head and get all pretentious.


My father was a Kentucky Colonel, another honor, granted in that case by the governor of Kentucky, that has no real significance except that it is an honor. He displayed his Letter of Patent in his living room but didn't go around asking people to call him Colonel. I do think that he kind of got a kick out of it.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

J. Thomas Shelley

Chicken jokes come to mind but I will exercise restraint.
Greek Orthodox Deacon - Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Dan Fienen

Ah, yes, there was a Kentucky Colonel named Harland.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

I would say that an honorary degree is "earned" in the sense that the person has done things that the institution found worthy of honoring them with the (academically meaningless) degree. Such a person's list of achievements may be greater than someone with a Ph.D.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Dan Fienen on July 12, 2023, 01:45:09 AM
Ah, yes, there was a Kentucky Colonel named Harland.

As I recall, he was quite a spicy ol' gent ... with some herbs, too. :)
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Dan Fienen

Quote from: J. Thomas Shelley on July 12, 2023, 01:28:06 AM
Chicken jokes come to mind but I will exercise restraint.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from Col. Sanders.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Dan Fienen on July 12, 2023, 01:49:45 AM
Quote from: J. Thomas Shelley on July 12, 2023, 01:28:06 AM
Chicken jokes come to mind but I will exercise restraint.
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from Col. Sanders.
Why did the chick go halfway across the road?




She wanted to lay it on the line.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Charles Austin

Nothing wrong with an institution deciding to honor someone, usually an alum, for "life achievements."
But the academic world and those who follow its protocols know that such a doctorate does not carry the honor, academic respect or badge of achievement that goes with a degree earned by study, research, teaching (usually), publishing and peer review of academic discipline and credentials.
Way way way back, I stepped on the track that would have led to an earned Ph.D.
But I was then called to journalism, a profession where academic letters after one's name don't mean much.
Covering religion, I was able to gain a few yards because I had an M.Div. from a Lutheran seminary and an M.Th. from the Dominicans, but when I was chasing fire engines, talking to cops, covering school boards and politics, those degrees didn't help much.
In old old LCA days, a newly-elected synod president would soon be granted an "honorary D.D." from a college or seminary on the territory. Some began using the "Dr." as a title. Grrr.
Iowa-born. ELCA pastor, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. English major. Elitist snob? Probably.

Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: Charles Austin on July 12, 2023, 03:48:21 AM
In old old LCA days, a newly-elected synod president would soon be granted an "honorary D.D." from a college or seminary on the territory. Some began using the "Dr." as a title. Grrr.

Yup.  Same in the LCMS.

https://locator.lcms.org/worker/119053

https://locator.lcms.org/worker/4917

Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

D. Engebretson

I have long been surprised, in a way, how many people receive honorary doctorates from our Concordias, some of which are received simply for being elected to a position, such as DP. No real substantial accomplishments, especially in the scholarly realm. And it seems almost universal that these honorees use these titles quite openly. I am further surprised how those in academia, who supposedly have protocols for using the title only for for those with earned academic doctorates, will also address these folks as "the Rev. Dr.".  I understand, to a degree, when a person is awarded such a degree for substantial research and writing, sometimes equaling the output of those with earned degrees.  The first president of the LCMS was awarded such a degree and I believe 'earned' it.  So, too, with others such as C.S. Lewis, whose literary output was both popular and very scholarly. 

During the summer I teach online for the seminary as an adjunct.  I have an earned M.Div and STM.  I am supposedly allowed to use the title "professor".  But it often feels presumptuous and when asked by my students (who are either in the SMP program or are colloquy or alt. route programs) what they should call me, I tell them "Pastor".  That's my vocation.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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