Communicating with professors outside of class does not have to be a painful chore or an awkward encounter like many students fear.
Every professor is different, but many agree that maintaining a level of professionalism is key to good communication.
Ferris second year pharmacy graduate student Heather Kakoz admitted that she had issues in her undergraduate program at a different school. However, she has never had an issue in the Ferris graduate program.
“In this professional program, they have always been very communicative with us and always had their door open for us to come in and talk to them or send them emails and they always respond quickly,” Kakoz said.
The method of communication outside of the classroom varies from professor to professor, from simple texts to in-person discussions.
“I prefer students to text me, as that is the quickest way for me to receive an inquiry and respond,” Ferris adjunct instructor Kayla Slezak said. “Students do not feel comfortable approaching an instructor for most issues face-to-face, during office hours or on a phone call. They would rather go back and forth with text or an email.”
Ferris Arts and Sciences Dean Kristi Haik reflected on communication with students in her previous years as a professor, explaining the importance of respect between professors and students helps prepare students for their future jobs.
“There’s no rule, there’s no system, but it is part of the culture of being a professor that you talk to your students outside the classroom. Most of the time, in the classroom, there’s very little opportunity for one-on-one interaction, and there has to be in any kind of teaching,” Haik said. “There is a requirement that the professor has office hours, which is one example of when a student has the opportunity to speak with the professor. There’s no rule about communicating with students because it is absolutely expected.”
Ferris criminal justice freshman Laura Harrison agrees that communication is the most important part, not the method or the formality of it.
“It’s still nice to know that they are not always so strict,” Harrison said. “Outside of class, in person, they’ll be really relaxed and they want you to do your best. They’re really understanding and really kind about what they say. Even if it’s not a formal email back, it’s nice to know that they’re human, too.”
Despite the fear of awkward encounters, the consensus of both students and faculty is that maintaining a professional, yet friendly, form of communication outside of the classroom will play a key role in a student’s success.