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!