QUOTE(Alicia Ocean @ Jun 2 2007, 09:07 AM)
This throw up the whole question of what gives an institution/body the right to allow someone to put letters after their name. Does anyone know if there are any laws about this? Rather than buy some (if they are worthless anyway in terms of their value) it would be simpler just to invent some.
In the UK, things which look like degree postnominals are protected by law - so one cannot buy a BA/BSc/MA/MSc/PhD/DSc etc. etc. There's a loophole in the US, though, where an organisation can declare themselves to be a church of some faith, and award degrees - because church organisations can award qualifications in America. Most of the Internet sites from which one can buy degrees are US based, and in the small print one can see that 'Hardwood University' is associated with one of these 'churches'.
What is okay in the UK is for an organisation to give out memberships which entitle the holder to postnominals and academic dress. Membership levels look a lot like music diploma levels - one can be a Fellow of an organisation and put Fsomething after one's name. So, for instance, dcmbarton is a Fellow of the Academy of St Cecilia and puts FASC after his name accordingly - this means he pays a subscription fee to be a member of the organisation. It isn't a qualification - the membership criteria are quite broad, and at least would require one to be 'simply as an enthusiast' about Early Music'. So perhaps they could include a voucher in the complete Byrd Keyboard Works box set
So if you're curious about how to go about awarding membership postnominals, all you need to do is draft up a constitution and away you go. Some time ago I did one for the 'Bouffant College of Music', which can now technically award postnominals just as other societies can: FBCM, LBCM and ABCM. Feel free to edit it to suit, and start your own society to bolster your collection of postnominals
The key to getting membership postnominals respected is to make them difficult to attain - FRS, for instance, is merely a membership, but carries much weight because one has to do a heck of a lot to get it. The first thing I do upon seeing postnominals I haven't heard of is to Google them - and have a chuckle if they're desperate enough to show off that they have tenner-a-year no-strings-attached memberships masquerading as qualifications
Bouffant College of Music
1. The name of this organisation shall be "The Bouffant College of Music", hereafter referred to as the BCM.
2. The BCM shall be an independent learned society composed of musicians and other persons interested in musical matters.
3. The aims of the BCM shall be:
- To encourage the telling of jokes in the 'Come In, Sit Down' thread in the Forums Cafe section of forums.abrsm.org
- To promote the highest standards in the performance of music, especially in Internet-arranged concerts
4. The BCM shall be governed by a Council of Management, the member of which shall be a supporter of Liverpool football club and a talented organist. The Council will consist of a chairman: the officership of chairman shall be granted initially to the person known as 'mrbouffant' on forums.abrsm.org; each chairman is responsible for appointing a successor should they see fit.
Council shall have executive power over all matters associated with the BCM, and is entitled to terminate the membership of any individual whose behaviour it feels to have brought the BCM into disrepute. Any such individual shall be deprived of all privileges of membership.
5. The membership of the BCM shall consist of
- Fellows: musicians, or those interested in musical matters, who have told a joke of notable humour, in the opinion of Council
- Licentiates: musicians, or those interested in musical matters, who have told a joke of reasonable humour, in the opinion of the Council
- Associates: musicians, or those interested in musical matters, who have told a joke containing some humerous element, in the opinion of Council
The minimum age for membership of the BCM, at any level, shall be 5 years, to allow joke-telling skills to develop.
Council may admit to fellowship honoris causa any musician, or person interested in musical matters, who has made a significant contribution to the work of the BCM.
Any person elected to Council who is not a Fellow at the time, shall be created a Fellow de jure.
6. Application for membership shall be made, normally, by telling a joke in the 'Come In, Sit Down' thread in the Forums Cafe section of forums.abrsm.org. The chairman may also grant membership to such person(s) as he or she shall deem worthy.
7. Fellows, Licentiates and Associates of the BCM shall be entitled to use the postnominal letters FBCM, LBCM and ABCM respectively.
8. Council of the BCM shall be at liberty to prescribe appropriate academic dress for members of the BCM, and for the council members.