Have you ever left class feeling totally confused about the concepts that were just taught? Have you struggled with a grade and wondered what you could do to bring it up? Have you ever wanted to further discuss something you’ve learned because it was so interesting to you? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you should definitely consider visiting your professor during their office hours!
With spring registration right around the corner, office hours are a great resource for students that usually go unutilized. It may seem intimidating at first, but faculty members have these open time slots dedicated for students like YOU to sit down and talk about anything that may be on your mind. Believe it or not, faculty members LOVE a student who takes the initiative to come in and chat. No question is a dumb question, and they want to help you succeed! Don’t believe me? Keep reading to hear why professors from UNI want to meet with their students outside of class.
Tom Hall: College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences - Associate Professor of Communication Studies
“There is a long term, a short term, and a practical benefit for visiting office hours and they are all interconnected. The short term benefit is that it allows you to get to know your professor and for them to know you and to answer any questions that you might have about the class or college or life. From a practical benefit, over the years I have found that even with all of the advancements we have made technologically, it is often easier to answer a student question (say about an assignment) while sitting face to face. Face to face provides each party the opportunity to read nonverbal communication and to answer questions immediately--things that aren't always present via email. Finally, so much of what we do in life relies on our ability to make connections with others--and while technology allows us to do that in its own way, face to face communication has advantages. Establishing those connections early with your professor will not only increase your comfort level when asking class related questions, but also helps down the road when you need a job reference or a recommendation letter. This will also make it easier to have these types of interaction with others in the future--thus, the long term benefit of office hours. Also, some professors (like myself) might have an extensive collection of albums on vinyl and a turntable in their office--giving you the opportunity to hear great music you might not have heard otherwise!”
Robin Dada: College of Education - Department Head & Professor, Curriculum & Instruction
“I look forward to visiting with students during office hours related to their unique questions or issues with the course. Students sometimes come by to talk about something they did not understand during class. By dropping in during office hours, I have time to go over the issues that are confusing and answer/ask specific questions. Sometimes students think of interesting connections or there is something that "just doesn't sit well" with them and they want to engage in further discussion. I also appreciate students who are proactive about planning for major projects or assessments and realize early on that the due date is problematic for them. By discussing this early, the student and professor can look for options that can be considered with plenty of time; some options may not be possible if the issue is raised close to the due date. I also really appreciate students coming by to discuss assessments, looking for explanations as to why their response may not have received full points, and how they can improve their explanations or analyses for the future, but I am not excited to bargain for grades like we're at a flea market. Working with your professor during office hours provides another avenue to get the most out of your university experience and learn more about your course and your professor.”
Catherine DeSoto: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences – Professor in Department of Psychology
I began teaching in the 1990's. I think there is a trend for students to send emails and not to come to office hours. That's a shame for both professors and students, the one to one interactions are an important part of the educational process. If a concept is unclear to you from class, I want to see you during office hours. Helping students one on one understand something, seeing the understanding arise: that is priceless, and these are moments that make teaching truly enjoyable.”
Matt Bunker: College of Business – Professor of Marketing
“I keep office hours open because during my years as a professor, I have seen students excel in the classroom because they visited me to ask questions or propose ideas for their projects. It is a time that I can clarify anything that was confusing during class. Visits do not have to be long, but making a visit during office hours to clarify a question in class is much better than not understanding a concept and missing test questions because of that misunderstanding. Also, if I get to know a student due to visits during office hours, it is easier for me to write letters of recommendation when they graduate from college.”
As you can see, there are many benefits to taking a little extra time out of your day to visit with a faculty member who truly wants to see you succeed. Not only can they help you solve problems, answer questions, and help you better understand the concepts you are learning, but they are also great networking resources that may help you land a job in the future!
Welcome back UNI students! Still on the search for the major that best suits you? Don’t panic! You have come to the right place. This week you will get to know recent UNI graduate, Kendall Deitering who discusses her undergraduate experiences on campus and how it shaped her career path.
What was your major when coming to orientation?
Kendall: At UNI orientation, I was technically Undecided or Exploratory, but I was considering Communication Sciences and Disorders. In addition, the advisor that I met with suggested that I enroll in a few Spanish classes because I had taken four years in high school. I am so glad that I did because some of my best friends and experiences (like studying abroad) came from my decision to minor in Spanish.
Did you consider any other majors? If so, how did you decide on Communication Sciences and Disorders?
Kendall: My mom is an Early Childhood/Special Education teacher, so I always was interested in teaching and working with students. During my junior year of high school, I visited the University of Iowa because I was also interested in nursing. I enjoyed my Anatomy and Physiology class in high school, so I was looking into careers that involved those topics. While visiting the University of Iowa, I wasn’t so sure that it was the place or major for me. I was sitting in their Office of Admissions looking at brochures of majors feeling somewhat defeated, and my mom picked one up and handed it to me to look at. The brochure was for Communication Sciences and Disorders. To be honest, I was unsure of what a Speech-Language Pathologist actually did until I read the brochure. Communication Sciences and Disorders sounded like the perfect fit for me because of my interest in Anatomy and Physiology, and working with others. My parents are both UNI alumni, so my brothers and I grew up coming to sporting events and campus. After visiting Iowa, my mom and I came to UNI for an official visit. Something just felt right about the campus; like it was familiar and comfortable to me. I began looking for a roommate on the Panther Picks page and met my freshman and sophomore year roommate, Tayler. Tayler was interested in studying Communication Sciences and Disorders as well and is currently in my graduate school cohort.
How did you know that your major was the right fit for you?
Kendall: It may seem strange, but I have been sure about studying Communication Sciences and Disorders from the very first day in the introduction course my sophomore year. Some areas/aspects interest me more than others, but there has not been one topic that I dislike. I love CSD because you are never bored; there is always something new to learn, no matter what level you are at.
What are some interesting classes you took that helped you decide your major or career choice?
Kendall: My anatomy class in high school sparked my interest in the human brain and central nervous system, and I did enjoy my Spanish classes. In college, I took all LAC courses my freshman year and did not necessarily enjoy any of them. During my sophomore year, I began the introduction course for CSD and enjoyed it, so I decided to continue on and officially declare as a CSD major with a Spanish minor. In subsequent classes in the CSD program, I learned how to apply the information I was learning to real-life situations and people. All of my professors taught with great passion, took interest in each student, and were ALWAYS willing to chat or answer questions.
Did you have any internships or volunteer experiences that influenced your career path?
Kendall: I shadowed two Speech-Language Pathologists in the school setting that work in the Prairie Lakes AEA. I also observed therapy at the Roy Eblen Speech and Hearing Clinic here on campus.
What are you doing with your degree now?
Kendall: Currently, I am in my first semester of graduate school at UNI. I graduated from undergrad in December of 2017. I am not yet sure where I would like to be following completion of my master’s degree, but I know that I would like to be working as a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Any other information or advice you would tell students who are exploring majors?
Kendall: Seeing the impact that the SLPs I shadowed had on the lives and successes of their students made me sure that Communication Sciences and Disorders was the major for me. It is so rewarding to empower those that you work with by helping them to find their voice. Communication is the way in which we express our wants, needs, hopes, and dreams and connects us to others. I cannot think of a career that would be more rewarding and worthwhile.
Want to find out more? Stop by Majors in Minutes on October 23rd from 7:00-9:00pm in the Maucker Union Ballroom to ask questions and learn more about each major on campus!
Click Here for the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department Website
Click Here for the Communication Sciences and Disorders Plan of Study