Student-professor relationships explained in talk

Ellie Phillips

The Counseling Center’s Peer Educators group hosted the ‘How To Talk So Your Professor Will Listen’ presentation Monday to advise students on healthy relationships between students and faculty.

The event provided education on various topics relating to students’ interactions with their professors. This included various reasons to approach an instructor and ways in which one can successfully interact with said instructor, as well as how to prepare for a meeting with an instructor and how classroom preparation and behavior influence the professor’s opinion of and attitude toward students.

Good reasons to visit your professor are to talk about graduate school or internship opportunities, to ask for help with coursework, and if you’re just very interested in the topic they teach and would like to learn more.

The seminar also gave information on the ideal relationship between professors and students. Some of these tips included the importance of having a healthy relationship with instructors through frequent communication and proper in-class behavior. One of the ways the presentation highlighted creating and maintaining that healthy relationship is to pay attention in class, have good attendance and do the homework well and on time.

Another way to create this healthy relationship is to visit the professor during his or her office hours—and do it correctly.
“The best time to talk to your professors is during their office hours,” said Jahanzaib Nadeem, one of the peer educators giving the presentation. “But if for some reason you can’t make it to their office hours, it is advisable that you set up an appointment.”

When having a meeting with the professor, the seminar stated that having a specific list of questions to speak to the instructor about is a good idea, as well as maintaining an attentive and professional attitude. The peer educators advised silencing cell phones and taking notes on what they say.

Many students are shy when it comes to office hours and don’t use them. However, this isn’t a good strategy toward having a successful college experience.

“We don’t have a university policy (on minimum faculty office hours),” said Dr. Maria Cimitile, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs, “(but) all faculty members are required to hold office hours.”

There isn’t a solid requirement on office hours because each discipline in the university has a different need for office hours within their field, as well as the fact that more and more classes are being held as hybrid or online courses. For these class styles, office hours are frequently held virtually. This policy is comparable to most other universities, as the same issues are prevalent throughout the higher education community.

Cimitile offered one further piece of advice for students:
“Please do not hesitate to ask the faculty for the conferences that you need; that is part of faculty expectations. That’s what they’re there for,” she said. “It’s their job.”
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