December 19, 2020

Yes, It’s “Doctor” Jill Biden.

If you’ve read the news recently, you’ve probably heard people discussing whether or not Dr. Jill Biden should drop the Dr. before her name.

As a current female PhD student in Psychology, the headline caught my eye.

Dr. Jill Biden (yes, there is a reason why I keep referring to her this way) earned an Ed.D, a doctorate in education from the University of Deleware. It is not a PhD or an MD, but still, it is a doctorate.

Today, we are seeing an increase in different types of doctorates.

There are PsyDs (doctorates in clinical psychology), SLPDs (doctorates in speech-language pathology), DPTs (doctorates in physical therapy). Some argue that lately, it seems that just about anyone can call themselves “doctor.”

This, however, is far from the truth and quite frankly, we need more doctors of speech-language pathology if we want to make progress in this field.

The comment that Dr. Jill Biden shouldn’t use Dr. before her name is not solely an example of misogyny, but maybe even more so, a reflection of the distaste many in the United States have about calling those with degrees in the humanities or degrees which do not require a lengthy dissertation using the scientific method, a “doctor.”

Her dissertation was called: “Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs.”

Many have called her work out for typos, poor sentence structure, and softness with no scientific rigor.

While there may be a few errors, what would one expect in a dissertation that is 137 pages long?

No, she does not include models in her dissertation or pose a research question that requires statistics to prove significance, but this doesn’t mean her work is not valuable.

Without qualitative research, we are unable to fully understand social interactions, systems, and processes. Qualitative research helps us to understand the minds of people and capture what they are thinking and feeling. It also helps to better understand complex processes.

Maybe Dr. Biden’s work has areas for growth, but don’t all dissertations?

I just spent this morning finishing a final in which I critiqued a published paper with seven pages of recommendations.

Whether you’re a PhD, MD, PsyD, or an Ed.D., you have put in the work to earn your degree.

Society should be thanking you for taking out large sums of money and devoting so many years to furthering our world’s understanding of complex issues rather than continue to attempt to ridicule your dissertation when most do not know the first thing about writing one.

Thank you, Dr. Jill Biden, for working to improve community colleges. I can’t wait to see what you do as our First Lady.

For more on our next First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden:

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