Janet asks, “How should we professorial types be addressed by our students?” I’m introducing myself to a new crop of students in an hour, so this is something I also go through every year.
My answer: if the students don’t know the professor, the default should be “Dr” or “Professor.” Always. It’s the safe thing to do.
To my students, I always tell them I’d rather not be addressed so formally, and “Paul” or “PZ” are better choices. “Hey, Myers!” is a little too brash.
I think the appropriate way to answer the question is to turn it around: how do we professors address the students? If you insist on being called “Dr”, I think you should be expected to address all your students as “Mr” or “Ms.” We can set the level of formality to whatever we want, but it has to be reciprocal. Of course, I’m also at a small college where I get to know every student, and by name…I suppose another alternative at the bigger places is to insist on being called “Dr,” while addressing all your students as a nameless, faceless, tuition-paying mob.