So, seeing as time is limited, I'm going to let Lance do a lot of the talking:
In your 27 June 07 blog entry, you discussed the differences in British and American university positions.
What you didn't mention -- and I need to figure out, for reasons too lengthy to burden you with -- is how university-level academics are addressed.
I'm aware, for instance, of the reverse snobbery among British doctors that leads to GPs being addressed "doctor" while specialists are addressed as "Mr/Mrs" (you also wrote about this). Is there something similar at work among academics?
He then goes on to list his questions, which I'll answer one by one. But before I start, I must stress that I've only worked at one university in the UK--and one that prides itself on its 'radical' history. So, I expect that people from other (BrE, informal) unis will have other experiences to report in the comments.
1) Do British academics with Ph.Ds go by "Doctor"? I ask because I ran across this web page. A corresponding US university web page would refer to all these people as "Dr. XYZ" instead of "Professor XYZ." Part of this is, of course, because every lecturer at a US school is a professor, but it's also because Ph.Ds here seem to jealously guard the privilege of being called "Doctor."In the UK, it's a great hono(u)r to be made Professor. Unlike in the US, it's a level that not everyone expects to reach when they start their careers, and I can think of UK academics who I would consider to be top in their (narrowly defined) fields who made it all the way to retirement without making it past Senior Lecturer (roughly, Associate Professor in US terms). So, it's the reverse of the situation in the US, where any academic might be called 'professor' (since the entry level for career academic positions is Assistant Professor), but where not every professor has a doctorate. (In particular in the creative arts, a Master of Fine Arts is considered to be a suitable qualification for a professorship. In most other fields at most universities, a doctorate is de rigueur.) So, in the US, it's 'special' to have a doctorate. But in the UK, there are far more academics with doctorates than there are professors, so it's 'special' to be professor. In both cases, it's the higher status term or address that's used--so it's unlike the reverse snobbery of surgeons.
The University of Southampton web page that Lance cites lists the members of the University Executive Group (i.e. the top committee at the university). All of the academics listed there are 'Professor' because usually (not necessarily, but usually) only professors are considered for top posts like Vice Chancellor or Dean. The 'Misters' on the list are presumably not academics (e.g. the Director of Finance). It was rather depressing to read that only one out of the 10 top people at Southampton is a woman--but then, it's no different at my own university.
2) If the answer to #1 is "no" or "it depends," what are the rules?Well, the answer wasn't 'no', so I feel a little silly including this question. But I need it in order to have a 2 between 1 and 3.
3) If graduate students at a UK school are called "post-grads," what are graduate teaching assistants called?Their positions are called Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) at my university, but this term is limited to positions that are part of a means to recruit students to a (post-)graduate program(me). In other words, you're a GTA if you're getting some kind of (AmE) tuition/(BrE) fee remission. Otherwise, you're a part-time tutor like other part-time tutors, and at my university, as of a few years ago, the title of that position is Associate Tutor. Such people would be called Dr(.)* So-and-so if they have a doctorate and Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss So-and-so if they don't.
Actually, they'll only be called by those titles in print. At our university, with the exception of some foreign students (including, when they first get here, some Americans) who are uncomfortable with such informality, students and faculty† are on first-name terms. I wonder whether this might be different at other UK universities. (Is it?)
American colleges/universities differ among themselves with respect to terms of address for faculty members when used by students. At the large, research-led, state universities where I studied, everyone addressed each other by their given names. But when I and my friends ended up teaching at smaller, private colleges, we found ourselves being addressed as Professor or Doctor. (My former employer encouraged Professor rather than Doctor, so as not to create a noticeable division between the doctors and non-doctors.)
4) Are post-grads going for their doctorates addressed differently then post-grads studying for their masters?Everyone's just addressed by their names. If we needed to put their titles in something in print, it would be their regular non-academic titles (Miss, Mr, etc.). In the UK we do make a distinction between research degrees and taught degrees, though not in the terms of address. Most masters students are on taught degrees, which like bachelor's degrees, involve taking courses and possibly writing a (BrE) dissertation/(AmE) thesis at the end. A research degree is one that doesn't involve taking courses--just researching toward(s) a (BrE) thesis/(AmE) dissertation. At Sussex and Oxbridge [Cambridge + Oxford] (and maybe some other exceptions) research degrees are differentiated from non-research degrees in their titles. An MA is a taught program(me), but an MPhil is a research-based master's and the doctorate is DPhil. Many British universities are now heading away from the tradition of research-only doctorates and looking toward(s) American universities for models for partly-taught doctoral program(me)s. I must say, I think this is a good thing. Graduates of North American doctoral program(me)s (orig. AmE) have a big jump on many British graduates in the job market, because we were forced to study much more than the narrow area that we wrote our dissertations/theses on. So, even though I'm a semanticist/pragmaticist, I had to take doctoral-level courses in all areas of linguistics, and it's allowed me to confidently say in interviews "oh yes, I could teach that, if you needed me to" (and to even have some ideas about how to teach it). But the doctoral program(me) that I entered took me five years to complete, which is a normal amount of time in the US. In the UK, research-only doctoral program(me)s are three years, and most of the newfangled teaching+research doctorates that I've seen are four years.
* BrE usually writes abbreviated titles like Dr and Mrs without (BrE) full stops/(AmE) periods, whereas this would be considered an error in AmE. But it's too messy to type (.) at the end of every title here, so I haven't.
† Postscript (later in the day): I should have mentioned that the use of faculty to mean 'members of teaching staff' is originally and chiefly AmE, though it's heard more and more in BrE.