Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Professorial Availability

I understand that professors need to limit the amount of time they make themselves available to students, so that they can get other work done. On the other hand, as a grad student I have things I need to talk to people about and I feel guilty standing in line with the undergrads during office hours.

I know that this is the undergrads' only opportunity to get attention from their professors, so I hate to "steal" that time. There are only limited office hours available and in the last few week I have stood around, waiting in line for several professors. Then I feel guilty because I'm causing people to miss their lunches or neglect other work when they finally get to me. I would much rather make an appointment. Then I could make it to the appointment on time and wrap things up on time, so as to avoid abusing other people's time.

Whatever. Obviously I have an overly developed sense of not wanting to inconvenience other people. Or maybe I just hate wasting time standing around in people's hallways. It makes me feel like some sort of interloper, begging for an audience.

Sometimes I "accidentally" run into faculty members when I know where they are going to be, just so I can get a couple of minutes with them. Otherwise a whole quarter might go by and I might not be able to find someone for a signature. I feel guilty about this, but then again, it seems like the only thing that works.

7 comments:

Breena Ronan said...

If anyone reads this by RSS feed, I'm sorry I published this post five times, but I'm still having trouble figuring out how to make the "full post" button disappear when there isn't a full post.

Anastasia said...

I'm queen of the casual ambush. very effective. as for office hours, you know I don't feel guilty. the opposite, as I assume (probably unjustly) that undergrads and even master's students don't have any reason to see the professor that is more pressing than my reason. i'm kind of a jerk like that, I guess.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Personally, I like it when grad students email for an appointment. I reply quickly and set it up within the next few days. It allows me to make sure I have the right amount of time to meet their needs and to do any necessary prep work for meeting with them (have examples pulled, check policies, whatever).

Mrs. Coulter said...

Lee often has appointments with his grad students. He also pretty much has an open door, though he sometimes complains about certain students who tend to abuse it to the point where he can't get anything done. Bottom line: appointments are better than drop-ins all around.

Breena Ronan said...

Like Profgrrrl I prefer to make an appointment. I don't mind coming to office hours, but often certain professors are frequently overloaded during office hours. It also seems rude when professors don't respond to my emails within a week or so. I realize that people get so many emails that a message can get lost, but really, if I'm asking for an appointment it only takes a minute to respond. A friend was telling me that it took her half the quarter to get an appointment scheduled with her advisor because of the slow email responses.

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