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Communicating Effectively with Faculty

In this Section

When communicating with faculty via e-mail, please be appropriately formal and be very clear in your subject line to ensure effective communication.

Here’s an inappropriate and ineffective e-mail:
Subject line: (blank)
I just wanted to let you know that my homework is late cuz I was sick.
Paul Pupil

Here’s an appropriate and effective e-mail:
Subject line: Paul Pupil ID# 0131582 MA180 Sec 03

Dr. Morrison,
I missed class yesterday, November 6th, because I was ill.  I have not turned in my homework.
I will be stopping by your office during office hours this afternoon with the assignment and hope that you will be able to accept it even though it’s late.

Thank you,
Paul Pupil

ID #0131582
Section 03

Making the Most of Office Hours
It is always in your best interest for your professors/instructors to know you, and you do this by attending classes and stopping by during office hours.

If you have been struggling in a class and now are attending a tutoring group or meeting with the TA, make sure you let your professor know that you are taking advantage of the help available to you.

When you visit office hours because you are having trouble in the class, it is important that you be able to say something more specific than, “I’m lost in this class and I don’t know what’s going on.”   If you are feeling like that and don’t know how to begin to talk about your difficulties in a class, please make an appointment with the Director or the Assistant Director of Accommodative Services for assistance preparing for your meeting with your professor. 

If you can visit office hours with a problem and pinpoint the place where you are not clear about how to proceed or why a certain step is required, that is an excellent way to make the most of the time you have with your professor.