Academic Support

Professors are People First

Living to a person's optimum cannot occur without effective communication whether it is with a parent(s), sibling, friend, roommate, authority figure such as professor or supervisor, or with a spouse/significant other. Rules of courtesy and etiquette apply whether it is a peer or a professor. In a campus community the size of Willamette, there is opportunity for greater communication between faculty and student; staff and student. In fact, the congeniality of such a campus may have been one of the deciding factors in your choosing Willamette. Considering that the college experience is that final stage of preparation before the step off into life, understanding and practicing these tips will be invaluable.

  • Talking with a professor is no different from talking with any other person; respect all people as though they are the most important person in your life. A sign of respect is preparation and attention so write down why you want to meet with your professor.
  • Be sincere in your interactions. Jocularity has its time and place but needs to be considered carefully. If you are nervous, write down what you want to say.
  • Discussions are a two-way communication; listening to others is as important as expressing your thoughts.
  • Learn to discuss points of differences with assertiveness, not aggressiveness; avoid arguing. If specific important points are made, write them down.
  • Give the other person the option of disagreeing with you. Be open to their viewpoints.
  • Make periodic appointments (and keep them) to touch base with your professor. Eventually, you will no longer have problems approaching your professor.