One of the things that grates on my soul, in Australia at least, is the propensity of Universities to go in for awarding honorary doctorates and on occasion, honorary professorships, to politicans, sports personalities, defence force personnel and ‘noted’ members of the public. When these honorary honours are conferred, they are often accompanied by statements in the media announcing conferees as academics.
This is just not right. If flies in the face of logic which confers doctorates and high level accolades on the basis of research and serious study. If also offers a figurative ‘slap across the face’ to those whose qualifications are genuinely earned, often at considerable personal sacrifice and cost.
A particularly galling aspect of this recognition is that honorary qualifications are often conferred during graduation ceremonies, at which the ‘honorary’ awarded is highlighted well and truly above genuine graduates.
There are plenty of other accolades that can be offered to people who have done well and made contribution in political, defence, sporting and community domains. There is no need to dilute the purist notion of academe by conferral of honorary awards.
Or have I got the bull by the tail?