Interacting with Faculty

November 13, 2014

LSU engineering senior Gerry Knapp recently shared his experience communicating with professors in a CxC student workshop entitled “Interacting with Faculty.”

Gerry has had a great deal of experience interacting with LSU professors, especially since his father is a professor in the College of Engineering. He grew up interacting with his father’s colleagues and watching his dad interact with his students.

Once he became a student at LSU, he saw many of his friends and classmates struggle to communicate with their teachers, so he decided to share a few secrets to success that he’s picked up over the years.

student giving presentation

First, Gerry said that student and teacher interaction begins in classroom. No matter how big your class is, you must pay attention and be respectful of the teacher during class time. Building mutual respect is the foundation for a beneficial student/teacher relationship. If a professor knows that you do not pay attention and respect him or her in the classroom, the professor will be less willing to help outside of class.

Email etiquette was also an important aspect of the workshop. The speaker emphasized that the emails to a professional should be respectful, mindful and grammatically correct. Teachers far too often receive emails that are inappropriate and unprofessional. A good standard for emailing professors is to phrase it as you were emailing your boss. If you wouldn’t speak to your employer that way, do not say it to professors.

In Gerry’s research for the presentation, he interviewed multiple LSU professors and asked them what their biggest pet peeve about students is.

Gerry also asked why students should get one-on-one time with professors. The answers varied from networking opportunities to future references to helping you grow as a professional.

A few LSU professors also attended the workshop. They shared a few pieces of advice on communicating from their experience with students.

All professors in attendance agreed that they want to help their students grow and excel. They also shared that their office hours are severely underused, and they want more students to visit during office hours.

A good relationship with a professor often leads to a great mentor when entering the workforce. Do not underestimate interaction with instructors because students greatly benefit from communicating effectively with their teachers.

The information Gerry provided was so well received that several requests were made to hold the workshop again in the future. For more information about upcoming student workshops, be sure to check out the schedule each semester.