Communication between students and faculty is key

Taylor Nicole Richards – News Writer

Open communication between students and faculty is essential for academic success on both ends. All professors are required to have weekly office hours and hand out contact information to all students for any questions or concerns outside of scheduled class hours. Although this is requirement of professors in higher education, some students said they wish to see improvements.

Shelby Monroe, freshman psychology major, said that even in her first year at Southern she has already noticed that many of her professors had a hands-off approach in terms of keeping students updated.

“I took a science class that was duel taught and you could never figure out which one of my professors would respond. I think they just expected the other one to do it,” said Monroe. “It would take days to get responses from either of them.”

However, emailing is not the only option since any student can stop by during office hours if they needed to. Monroe said that she wished some of her professors had more flexible hours or more hours in general. She is more inclined to ask a question in person for an immediate response rather than potentially waiting a day or two for an email back.

Monroe and Marissa Tomaso, freshman exercise science major, both said if they have a question on an assignment, deadline, or submission issues, they will make sure they email their professors a few days in advance so they will not run out of time. Evan Spangenberg, junior graphic design major, said that he is quicker to ask a classmate for help before a professor.

“I don’t really bother messaging my teachers, but I think I’d do better if I did put in that effort. It’s easier for me to contact students because I’m already friends with most of the kids in my major,” said Spangenberg.

Natalia Wylezinska, sophomore business finance major, had the same thoughts. She said that if she missed a class, she would ask another student first what was due instead of making her professor repeat themselves and risk angering them. Wylezinska has two different professors this semester that email her every week to update what assignments are due, along with in-class reminders. She said she appreciates when professors make an extra effort, since she will always know what is going on and will have a lesser chance of forgetting and falling behind.

Monroe and Spangenberg take an art class together and said that they like how their professor is “always around.” If he is not around, all art studios have open lab hours with a paid lab assistant to help students outside of a specific professor’s office hours. Monroe said she would “appreciate it if that kind of assistance was offered in other degree programs.”

Tomaso said some of her professors need to get better at updating class schedules. If there is a snow day or class gets cancelled, it is easy to get mixed up on what material is being skipped and what is not. Her solution to bad teacher/student communication would be having a GroupMe set up for each class with the professor and all the students in one place.

“The professor could respond immediately and you could talk to each other if you’re too scared to get someone’s number,” said Tomaso. “It brings the class closer together and makes everything more bearable if everyone’s questions always get addressed.”

Photo Credit: Staff Photo

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