Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2001

Getting along with professors take a little work

August 11, 2001

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Kansas University students say getting along with professors isn't hard it just takes a little work.

Sometimes, it's a matter of common sense.

"The best way (to get along) would be to go to class," said Jason Cook, who graduated in May with a degree in human biology. It's bad, he said, "if you don't go to class (and) then you expect to get preferential treatment."

Brynn Burns, an academic adviser in KU's Freshman-Sophomore Advising Center, said going beyond the minimal effort is helpful. Students, she said, should take advantage of a professor's office hours.

"It can be intimidating for freshmen at first," she said. "It's really important to use in-person interaction."

Faculty are increasingly using e-mail, Burns said, but students shouldn't rely on that alone. Person-to-person communication is still the best.

"I think communication happens more effectively in person, as opposed to e-mail or the phone, where things can get mixed up," she said.

Corrine Anderson, a French instructor, agreed.

"I have more and more e-mail communication, and it seems to work effectively," Anderson said. "But I would much prefer face-to-face."

Students shouldn't be shy about approaching their teachers, she said.

"I think most professors at KU are willing to meet students, and the students don't realize that. It's not brown-nosing, which the kids think, but a way of announcing who you're working with. I worry about those students who float around anonymously."

And it should be easy for a professor to find a time for the face-to-face interaction.

"I have office hours regularly," she said. "I ask my students to come then, or at a time we can arrange."

Nathan Gronberg, who graduated in May with a business administration degree, said participation in class is also important.

"Talk in class, go see them in their office, make sure they know you care, (they) know your name," he said.

"You've got to let them know you're there, that you care about the grade," added his friend Jake Case, who graduated in May with an economics degree. "It's easy to get lost. There's a lot of people here."

"The easiest way (to get along with professors) is to be on time to class and participate in discussion, be prepared for what they're teaching that day," said Joe Gillespie, a fifth-year senior in biochemistry. "It doesn't take that much, but that's a lot for some people."

Burns, the academic adviser, said students are at an advantage if they try to open the lines of communication early in the semester.

"I think faculty are more willing to help a student they can put a name and a face with," she said, "rather than meeting them at the end of the semester to talk about their grade."

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