Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Connecting with Faculty

Hi All, This is a continuation of my last post, in response to an anonymous reader who wrote to say that she or he is having difficulty connecting with faculty.

To be most helpful, I would need to know more about you and your faculty and whether you have tried to connect and it has not worked, or whether you aren't sure how to initiate those relationships. However, for now, I will address how to initiate a more personal/professional connection with your faculty.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Make an appointment to get help or support with class work. Certainly, if you are having trouble with any papers, projects or reading, this is a very good reason to meet with your professor. Make an appointment and be prepared with your materials and questions. Work-specific conversations can be a nice bridge to a deeper professional connection and even a mentoring relationship.

2. Look for common ground, and then make an appointment. Has your prof mentioned her or his research and/or professional interests in class? If not, that's what google is for... see if your professor has published in any areas that interest you. If you find common ground, read your professor's work and then make an appointment to discuss. Or if your professor has professional experience that interests you, ask for a time to meet and discuss.

3. Simply ask to meet. I have had a few students email me and say "you are someone I'd like to get to know professionally, can we meet for coffee?" I have really appreciated this straight-forward approach (and the compliment!). We have had terrific meetings, discussing the student's career goals and questions, my research interests and other parts of my professional background.

Other readers -- how have you connected with your professors?

Good luck with the work, all.

1 comment:

  1. On a less sublte note....

    Pearce states "to commit to follow a leader down an uncertain path, they have to know the leader’s personal motivation."

    Personal motivation is central to trustworthiness. Perhaps before meeting directly as that might be intimidating, try some in class connection. Participate more in discussions and relate your experiences to the Professor's. Create dialouge to encourage connetions with classmates and the prefessor. Establishing small connections helps to build trust and soon you will see that the relationship may have just been "slow to warm up".


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