Q. We have a new employee who holds two PhDs. She insists on having her name listed as “Jane Doe, PhD, PhD.” We are in a university environment and agree that degrees are important, but doesn’t this seem a bit much?
A. Yes. It’s probably immodest and certainly irrational and superfluous. Maybe modesty must be cast aside in today’s competitive, promotional environment, but there’s no question about irrational and superfluous: Jane Doe can only be one doctor of philosophy (a PhD following someone’s name doesn’t mean “I have one and only one PhD degree,” it means “I’m a doctor of philosophy”—having achieved that status in one or more than one field). Moreover, now that PPL Therapeutics, the company that cloned Dolly, has announced that it is selling its assets and closing its doors, it is not very likely that Dr. Doe will become Drs. Doe any time soon.