As each semester begins, students and faculty establish a collaborative relationship based on the common goal of student learning. One aspect of this relationship, as with any relationship or collaboration, is communication. Key elements of effective communication are clarity, mutual respect, and listening.
Below are a few tips for students that will be helpful when communicating with faculty.
- Address faculty with appropriate credentials. If you are unsure of their credential (Dr., Mr., Mrs., etc), use Professor.
- Be respectful.
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”
~ Albert Einstein
- Identify yourself, the class & section number you are in. This is helpful to faculty who may teach multiple classes or multiple sections of multiple classes.
- Listen for understanding.
“How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things but how well we are understood.” ~ Andrew Grove
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ~Epictetus
- Questions on an assignment? Look at the syllabus and/or assignment instructions for answers first, and if you can’t find the answer or need further clarification, then ask faculty.
- Timeliness matters. Don’t wait until after an assignment is due or until the end of the semester to ask questions or clarify a grade.
- Approach questions about grades from the perspective of your opportunities for improvement or understanding of calculations based on rubrics or criteria rather than why you think the grade is wrong or unjustified.
- For example: “Professor Jones, I don’t understand where I went wrong on this section. Could you give me some more feedback on why I lost points?”
- Allow 24 – 48 hours for a reply to an e-mail or voicemail.
- Whether communication is via e-mail or face-to-face, use the same principles of good communication.
The bottom line is, don’t be afraid to talk to your faculty. They want you to be successful!Our faculty wants you to succeed in all of your academic endeavors. If you need assistance with a class, try visiting our Center for Academic Excellence. They have tutors and other resources to help you succeed! View their website for more information.